I chose pages 106 and 107. They depict the jail scene where the freedom riders and other inmates are being threatened by the wardens and told to stop singing. The darkness of the page and the way the words from the song cascade across different panels along with the very clear thick black borders creates a sense of hope in the darkness. In a story filled with large amounts of fear and hostility, it reinstates a sense of life. It gives these people back their humanity. The inmates, in fact, come to the realization that they have nothing left to lose other than themselves. Amongst the laughter, someone even says “What are you gonna do? Put us in jail?!”
The textboxes all have different textures. Words from the wardens have jagged edges and a lot of emphases. They directly interfere with the lyrics or words of others. The artist doesn’t give too much detail to the characters but shows the song lyrics as coming from all of them. It establishes a feeling of unity. They all become one in this instance, fighting the same fight. In the drawings of the wardens, they’re almost seething while the inmates appear calm, almost jovial.
All of this helps to depict a more accurate understanding of the event. Even though these are people going through traumatic events and fighting for their rights, they are still people. They laugh and joke and experience the same things we as people experience today.
This resonated with me a lot because often when we hear stories about the Civil Rights Ear and those involved we don’t get to hear about the individuals and what they were going through. We don’t hear about their families or their feelings apart from what they contributed to the movement. It is told as a very streamlined narrative. Things were bad. People were in pain. They fought through that pain. They overcame it. It is a lot more complex than that and this particular couple of pages demonstrated that.
I would not say any of this necessarily moved me to a point of conviction though. It felt like a very pretty set of pictures to discuss a very rough and traumatic topic – one that I’ve learned about many many times.