Buses designated to carry Freedom Riders are firebombed. Later it is revealed that Eugene “Bull” Connor, the chief police of Birmingham, allowed a 15 minute time slot for the Klu Klux Klan to tamper with the bus before any arrests were made. This scene thoroughly portrays the relationship between white supremacy and law enforcement. Lewis draws a connection to this to highlight the discrepancy between law and those who choose to enforce it. This image is explosive, much like perpetrators, they are willing to kill those who have a different skin tone.
"You, the young people of SNCC, have educated me. You have changed me. Now I understand."-Kennedy
As Freedom Riders arrive in Jackson, Mississippi, following shortly after an attack by white resistance, they are immediately apprehended and towed off to Mississippi State Penitentiary or “Parchman Farm”. Lewis states “Parchman was the stuff of legends -- dark legends”. Here, Lewis exposes readers to the dehumanizing treatment Freedom Riders are subjected to; they are treated as if they were notorious, ruthless criminals rather civilians fighting for equal rights. The image illustrates how Riders’ mattresses were confiscated, reiterating how Riders are not treated like real able-bodied people.
"Whatever black folks do, maybe I don't support it, but I'm going to be there brother--'cause that's where I belong"-Malcolm X
The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee briefly reached a small divide; some believed in preserving the continuity of direct action protests, while others promoted a new idea of advocating African American suffrage. This scene is where the reader is first exposed to a new approach to protest; SNCC members begin to feel as if the best way to correct injustice is to meet it directly. Lewis includes this to display the development of SNCC. The committee reaches a wider network of issues.
Children of Birmingham participate in the movement for the very first time. In fact, this particular protest is comprised of ONLY children. Lewis emphasizes the power of youth in this scene; as the saying goes, children are the future. They behold power due to the education of civil rights that are becoming exposed to. Although horrific occurrences had happened during this protest, the cartoon only depicts the protest itself, because again, children held the upper hand in the movement.
Robert Kennedy, a white American politician, and Malcolm X, an African American a part of the Nation of Islam, perhaps serve as the most monumental characters in the graphic novel. As pictured, these two men begin to empathize with the movement despite not coming from the same circumstances. Its significance is evident of itself. Empathy is the most important factor in creating change. Lewis exemplifies here that it is not the sympathy that composes a good citizen, it is understanding and empathy.
The March and speeches of DC truly epitomize the substantial ground of words and unity. Dr. Martin Luther Jr. delivers his famous “I Have A Dream” speech, daring America to imagine a new America; an America in which is equal for all. He makes freedom and equality a tangible thing, able to be reached with effort. Lewis builds the correlation between unity and change, the whole scene in of itself is a symbol of unity. A bigger voice is a louder voice.