“You cannot be afraid to speak up and speak out for what you believe. You have to have courage, raw courage.” – John Lewis

I was speechless when I read the news of Congressman John Lewis’s death yesterday. Congressman Lewis has been a civil rights icon since he was young. In 1963, he was the chairman of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). As a teenager, his words inspired hundreds of thousands as he spoke at the March on Washington. Congressman Lewis continued to be a voice for the Civil Rights Movement and eventually won a seat to represent Georgia’s 5th Congressional District in order to serve his community in 1986.

It always hurts when such a brilliant legend passes away, but this one stings a little deeper as Congressman Lewis was also an author of diverse books. Congressman Lewis wrote several books that detailed the Civil Rights Movement and his desire for change. His words and books will continue to inspire many future leaders and educate our world. It is vital that we continue his legacy by reading these books and promising to continue the push for racial justice just like Congressman Lewis did. I have included a list of his books below that are perfect for students. 

Thank you, Congressman John Lewis, for your service, your legend, and your legacy! You will live on through not only your words and actions, but the community you served and the world you inspired. 

March (the Trilogy), by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell

The Spectrum for Multicultural Lit.: Conversation

Age Range: 12+ years old (I think 9+ years old but it is listed as 12+)

As an Ethnic Studies teacher, I was immediately intrigued by this graphic novel. March is co-written by Congressman John Lewis about his life’s work. The trilogy starts in the present day showing John Lewis as a congressman, and then goes into detail about his upbringing and work in the Civil Rights Movement. 

March: Book One, by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell

In this first book, John Lewis tells you about his childhood in Alabama and the beginning of his work in the Civil Rights Movement. It opens with a scene from the modern-day where John Lewis is inspiring some young children with the story of his life and advocacy. 

March: Book Two, by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell

This is the second book in the March Trilogy. It starts with the activism to integrate Nashville movie theaters and then moves to John Lewis’s experience as a Freedom Rider. Then, it details his time as the Chairman of SNCC and his work for the March of Washington in 1963. 

March: Book Three, by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell

In the third book, John Lewis begins with the bombing of a church. He then focuses on the work to advocate for the right to vote of African-Americans. The last section details the famous Selma to Montgomery march in March 1965.

Run: Book One, by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Afua Richardson, and Nate Powell

The Spectrum for Multicultural Lit.: Conversation

Age Range: 12+ years old

Run: Book One is the next chapter in the March trilogy and picks up after the Selma campaign. This book talks about the behind-the-scenes struggles of the movement. It looks like the book is still being edited, but should be published to wider audiences in the future. 

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