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The Trilogy March - Nonviolence and Human Dignity

The Honorable John Lewis, American Hero, 1940-2020
Mobilus In Mobili, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
The Honorable John Lewis, American Hero, 1940-2020

Greetings High Plains Public Radio Book Readers. My name is Gregory Roberts; I’m the Director of the TRIO Student Support Services and Talent Search Programs at Dodge City Community College.

Greetings High Plains Public Radio Book Readers. My name is Gregory Roberts; I’m the Director of the TRIO Student Support Services and Talent Search Programs at Dodge City Community College.

In Book One, the writings make the reader feel like they are walking in the spirit of John Lewis as he recalls his journey and perceptions of his experiences while being the recipient of injustices and while observing injustices to others, particularly those who supported “human dignity” efforts. He is tremendously clear in his step-by-step descriptions of the challenges and brutality suffered by civil rights advocates, in practicing the principles of non-violent protest. He personally experienced and observed unjust beatings by local community members and local law enforcement.

His study and practice of non-violent principles moved him towards the Civil Rights Movement during a time when many people questioned his rationale for following non-violent precepts in a time when brutality towards people of color was considered normal as seen by the outward and televised displays of beatings, lynchings, burnings of homes and places of worship trending at that time in U. S. history.

Some may see the Civil Rights Movement as a struggle of the injustices against Blacks and people of color in the United States. This is true. However, less known is the fact that the Civil Rights Movement activists and protesters included Blacks, Whites, People of Color, Democrats, Republicans, and Progressives in the struggle to make America a more just society.

Book Two, continues to share his personal journey as he experiences challenging the injustices that he and others addressed while dismantling segregation practices in Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia. He, his supporters, and his followers firmly held onto non-violent principles and were frequent targets of bigotry and increasing levels of violent responses that targeted his presence in leading student and community marches, sit-in, and demonstrations.

It was clear, that the quest for Human Dignity, was being met more and more with ongoing, deliberate, and brutal violence.

With the extreme violence occurring towards him and against the movement, along with resistance from those who supported the civil rights movement, John Lewis was once quoted stating: “A “movement” is when people do it out of conviction” not for publicity;” meaning that he was not pursuing just causes to be a public figure; nor to get fame for himself; he believe fighting the good fight against injustices, is a fight worth fighting in and of itself; which he is well known for his use of the phrase “GOOD TROUBLE”.

The use of the phrase “GOOD TROUBLE” is known as a type of battle cry for his way to talk about addressing and dismantling unjust practices that attack “HUMAN DIGNITY”.

Gregory Roberts: The Trilogy March - Nonviolence and Human Dignity, Part 2

Book Three, continues with the historical violence and brutality against those considered supporters of the Civil Rights Movement, throughout the early 1960’s.

The bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing on September 15, 1963, which killed four children and injured 21 other children on a “Youth Day” event being at the church. The Sixteenth Street Baptist Church of Birmingham, Alabama was considered the headquarters of the Birmingham Civil Rights movement.

The expression of “Segregation Forever” was a recurring mantra. With ongoing beatings, lynchings, and shootings of the Civil Rights movement demonstrators, both Blacks and Whites, attempting to create integration of American society.

Demonstrators, so brutally beaten, that they had injuries that lasted the rest of their lives; and which you can’t help but admire their bravery to continue with their involvement in the civil rights movement.

It was a period in history that established the following beliefs:

First, if President Kennedy could be killed, then demonstrators could be killed very easily. On the other hand, two, some believed that President Kennedy’s death would bring people together and serve as a unifying moment (p. 52).

On July 2, 1964, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, was signed into law; but many considered it “dignity without strength”.

On August 6, 1965, The Voting Rights Act of 1965, was signed into by President Lyndon B. Johnson. Establishing that “wherever states and counties are using regulations, laws, or tests to deny the right to vote, such efforts will be struck down (p. 242).

I close with a quote from the book. “The right to vote is considered the most powerful instrument ever devised by humanity for breaking down injustices and destroying the terrible walls which imprison people because of their differences from other people.”

For High Plains Public Radio Book Readers, this is Gregory Roberts concluding my synopsis of MARCH: TRILOGY by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell. Published by Top Shelf Productions.

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