Monday, February 12, 2018

March: Book Three

March: Book Three March: Book Three by John Lewis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book, just as the first two volumes, is absolutely essential reading. This is not just our history, it informs our present day in very real ways. This last volume highlights all the marches in Selma, which directly led passing to the 1965 Voting Right Act. It details all the atrocities of violence perpetrated not only against those working for a fair future, but also against innocent children. More than that, it highlights those who fought so hard for equal rights. There are those who became voices and leaders in the movement. I'm ashamed to say I had never heard of Fannie Lou Hamer before, and now I want to track down everything there is to know about her.

And then there are those who were murdered in the name of anger and fear and bigotry, those who gave their lives fighting for what they knew was right. It is only right to end this review honoring their memories. Say their names: Denise McNair. Addie Mae Collins. Carole Robertson. Cynthia Wesley. Virgil Lamar. Johnny Robinson. Mickey Schwerner. Andy Goodman. James Chaney. Jimmie Lee Jackson. James Reeb. Viola Liuzzo. Malcolm X. Martin Luther King, Jr. And all the nameless, faceless others we don't know of.

It was frustrating to watch Lyndon B Johnson sabotage the equality efforts because they didn't fit into his current plan. Of course, he eventually pushed forth the Voting Rights Act, and he seemed like a generally decent guy, but it just goes to show that even decent people can do indecent things if they feel like their lives or plans are being threatened. That definitely doesn't excuse his actions, but it might go a little ways in explaining them.

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