March: Book One by John Lewis

Your Summer Assignment

Prior to New Student Orientation in August, you should read the entire book. While you read, you may want to consider the following questions:

  1. In what ways do Lewis’s religious background and values influence his approach to the struggle for civil rights as well as the movement as a whole? Do you believe that love of one’s attacker is a requirement for effective nonviolent resistance, and are there any signs of it in the book?
  2. How does nonviolent resistance as espoused by Gandhi, King, and Lawson work to bring about social change, and how does it compare to other methods?
  3. Identify and analyze the “turning points” in John Lewis’s life. What role do you believe attending college, and his decision of which college to attend, play in his future?
  4. How do the events depicted in March connect to your life personally? Is there a modern-day issue for which you might be willing to take a stand? Would you use the same techniques as the Nashville Student Movement, or a different strategy? Has reading March changed your perspective, and if so, how?
  5. What does the book’s portrayal of various media tell us about their relationship to social and political change? As a youth, Lewis himself supplements firsthand accounts of the Montgomery Bus Boycott with those communicated via radio and newspaper, and a comic book turns out to be an important way to learn of Martin Luther King’s ideas. What conclusions might we draw from such examples? What media might you use today to disseminate new ideas and coordinate political actions?
  6. What role did economic factors play in the process of desegregation? Specifically, if African Americans had represented a far smaller part of the buying public, do you think tactics such as boycotts and sit-ins would have been as effective? What other methods might be effective?

First Year Reading: Online

New students will be given the opportunity to join online book discussions with other new and current students over the summer. First Year Reading: Online introduces students to the digital learning system at Marquette (D2L) and academic success resources across campus, while engaging students in university-level discussions about complex subjects. Watch for more information about First Year Reading: Online later this summer.


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