Conversation with Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell about “March”
Over the course of this semester in my Multicultural America Literature course, I have had conversations with various authors and scholars such as Kiku Hughes (Displacement), Lila Quintero Weaver (Darkroom: A Memoir in Black and White), Eir-Anne Edgar and Michael Dando discussing Maus, Jennifer Morrison discussing Of Love and Dust, and more. We concluded the course by reading John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell’s March Trilogy. For the final lecture of the semester, Aydin and Powell joined me for a conversation, and today I want to talk some about what we discussed, notably Powell’s comments on presenting lengthy sections or entire speeches in a sequential art format and Powell and Aydin’s discussions about what March includes and doesn’t include and how the text opens up an avenue for students and educators to dive further into understanding and studying the Civil Rights Movement and history.
Recently, I wrote about Fannie Lou Hamer’s sequence in March: Book Three where we see her giving her speech in front of the Democratic National Committee’s credential committee in Atlantic City in 1964. Powell and Aydin mention that they were able to incorporate this entire speech because it is in the public domain, from a public hearing; however, they would not be able to include full speeches from say Martin Luther King, Jr. without securing permission to reprint lengthy excerpts. The ability to print Hamer’s speech at length created a question of how to present it on the page. While some works such as David WF. Walker and Marcus Kwame Anderson’s The Black Panther Party have images and lengthy text, devoid of constant action, March works through movement and action, guiding the reader from moment to moment in a fluid motion.
Looking at Hamer’s speech in March, the panels focusing on the “mundane” — her purse, her hands, etc. — add to the power of the scene because, especially with her hands on the table, it shows her strength and resolve, a focus on the task at hand without wavering. If her hands were under the table and fidgeting, we…