Unit 4, Post 2, Virginia Adams

March, page 126

The participation of Al Hibbler, a blind singer, in a Birmingham Civil Rights protest in 1963 demonstrates the immensity of this campaign. However, the graphic novel documenting his appearance, March, by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell, illustrates the opposition that met his activism (126). While his removal by a police officer reinforces the significant role of this organization’s power in opposing the Civil Rights movement, the false pretense of altruism the officer displays creates severe irony. The officer’s pretending to care about Hibbler’s safety only highlights his own awareness of dangers in which an unjust system places these protestors. As such, the officer reveals his support for this system through this affirmation and through the implied actions that he takes against Hibbler. Nonetheless, this panel communicates the overarching nature of the protest, as one microscopic example, Hibbler’s activism, represents a macroscopic reality, systematic racial injustice. Philip Gourevitch, another scholar, utilizes the same approach, and, in both cases, conveying a larger truth through an individual story creates a stronger emotional connection with the audience. Notwithstanding, the severe power disparities shown through this episode’s individualized focus prove the flagrant racial inequality before the law at that time.

The visual depictions of Hibbler and the cop corroborate this stark power dynamic and its consequent implications for the inferior race’s rights. Hibbler, forced to bend down by a smug cop, thus appears much smaller and extremely powerless at the hands of this officer, who grins maliciously. The sizable difference in the visible statures of these two characters and the message on power it generates mirrors the significance of the top of the panel, overlooking the protest. This view from above suggests an overall disregard for this movement of those at which it directs its protests at this point in time, similar to the cop’s disregard for Hibbler as an equal. By underlining “never” in the cop’s statement, the authors emphasize its irony through his somewhat sarcastic somewhat blatantly dishonest assertion. The cop does not expect anyone to believe any truth to his claim, and he only makes it to reinforce his position of power through the overwhelmingly evident irony. Nobody besides those already protesting would have protested if he had taken Hibbler without saying anything. This dichotomy reflects the complete lack of rule of law at this time, which, although not yet complete, this revolution did successfully work to better.

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