Activism Memoir

Read Run: Book One

Read Run

To John Lewis, the civil rights movement came to an end with the signing of the Voting Rights Act in 1965. But that was after more than five years as one of the preeminent figures of the movement, leading sit–in protests and fighting segregation on interstate busways as an original Freedom Rider. It was after becoming chairman of SNCC (the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) and being the youngest speaker at the March on Washington. It was after helping organize the Mississippi Freedom Summer and the ensuing delegate challenge at the 1964 Democratic National Convention. And after coleading the march from Selma to Montgomery on what became known as “Bloody Sunday.” All too often, the depiction of history ends with a great victory. But John Lewis knew that victories are just the beginning.

It’s upsetting how relevant this is in 2021, 57 years after the start of the book. The barrage on equal voting rights is relentless and endless.

Meticulously researched and reconstructed. I’m less familiar with this time period than I was with the events in March, so I appreciated the context setting and big picture.

The thruline on this one isn’t as clear as in March, but focuses on the change in the movement away from non-violence as Black people are murdered needlessly and ruthlessly, while John Lewis remains committed to peaceful protest and resistance.

By Tracy Durnell

Writer and designer in the Seattle area. Freelance sustainability consultant. Reach me at She/her.

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