Basil Wiering Unit 4 Assignment 2

I chose the two-page spread on pages 80-81. It is one of three such spreads where one panel or scene covers the spread from edge to edge, the other two being the first attack on the Freedom Riders on pages 44-45 and Martin Luther King Jr’s I Have a Dream speech on pages 172-173. The scene on pages 80-81 is one of several depicting the inauguration and presidency of Barack Obama. Unlike the aforementioned spreads, this one contains smaller frames scattered around. While the main event being depicted is Aretha Franklin’s performance at the inauguration, the scattered frames contrast it by showing the aftermath of the beating endured by the Freedom Riders in Montgomery. The dominating image is an expression of freedom and progress, with the words of My Country Tis of Thee floating across the pages. The three main components of the spread are interwoven: the image of Aretha Franklin and the US capital and crowd behind her, the lyrics of the song, and the small images from Montgomery. The images are vignettes of a struggle for freedom, including beaten bodies, passive policemen, and grinning racists. This provides the context for understanding why the inauguration of Obama felt so inspiring and significant, set against a history of pain and perseverance. This feeling of inspiration is captured in Franklin’s posture and expression, as well as the song lyrics. The text boxes for the lyrics are some of the largest in the book and begin on page 79 and continue into page 82, denoting the continuation of the struggle for freedom. The final words of the song shown on page 82 are clouded by the smoke of a molotov cocktail thrown at a church, which brings us back to the harsh reality of Montgomery in 1961, the same place the floating lyrics began. The imagery on page 82 is an empty blackness aside from a hand throwing the homemade explosive and the words, “Let freedom ring!”, pitting the two ideologies against each other, highlighting the methods of each and contrasting the time periods in which they occurred.

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