Peter Rock Unit 4 Assignment 2

I selected page 48 to examine closely. This page comes after a bus with freedom riders is attacked upon arrival in Birmingham. The use of art on this page helps the reader appreciate the events and power that allowed the bus to be attacked even though the police were informed that the freedom riders would be arriving. The page is set up to give the impression of watching a television interview. the police chief is introduced in the second panel. The second and fourth panels both show the police chief’s face, framed in the same shape as the television screen. These shots are zoomed in closer and closer. The fifth panel shows the police chief the closest yet, with text over his eyes. At no point can you see the police chief’s eyes through his glasses. Adding to this, he is given the nickname “bull”. This gives the impression that his presence is inhuman and detached. The text tells that even the governor fears him. The third panel, the final text on the page, and the bottom third of the background on this page are darkened. This gives the impression that the police chief is a dark, cruel figure. The third panel shows a man with a satisfied face committing an act of violence from the perspective of the victim. There is a dark cloud in the background. The final text on the page explains to the reader that the police chief gave the KKK 15 minutes with the bus before making arrests. He wrote it off as giving officers time off for mother’s day. The sinister facial expressions and the clouding of his eyes make this statement even colder. This page stuck with me in large part because of the severity and intensifying nature of the art. The use of the zoom-in on the police chief and increased use of darkness painted a vivid picture of the effect that police violence had on the anti freedom rider violence. Racist police forces amplified the violence and hatred that the freedom riders faced. The only legal authority in many of the towns, not just Birmingham, where the riders stopped actively disobeyed the law. Police allowed violent acts to be committed, often times initiating violence. This is communicated clearly and unflinchingly on this page. The line “Everyone was afraid of him- even the governor” particularly stuck with me. This line, coupled with the stern, blank, cold expression of the police chief communicated more than just words could.

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