This image in pages 124 and 125 of the graphic novel March 2 depict George Corley Wallace’s inauguration in Birmingham, Alabama. During his speech, Wallace addressed the freedom rides of the African American activists in the South and the attack on the two busses carrying them, that took place near Birmingham. What it truly interesting about the images is how the creators of the graphic novel chose to juxtapose the seemingly rigid statements of the 45th governor of Alabama, with the true nature of the situation, which seemed much more like a generalized call for change.
Wallace’s inaugural address is accurately depicted in the novel. Of course, his speech is not given at its full extent, however the words in which he chose to express his famous statement against integration are given precisely as he uttered them. The event is presented in a heightened, almost cinematographic manner: the angry expression of his face is closely portrayed, and the hatred his words carry is further illustrated by the choice of the novelists to include different segments of his sentences in different dialogue boxes, in order to stress them. The picture in the right of the page is especially intimidating; It is drawn as if the artist was watching the speech from the first row, and Wallace’s utmost call for segregation, “Segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever” is presented right in front of the emblematic Capitol of Montgomery, Alabama. Furthermore, this phrase of his is extensively segmented, as every two words are included in a different dialogue box, highlighting how they created the feeling of cutting the air like arrows.
However, what is even more interesting than how the actual historical event was portrayed, is how the thoughts of the members of the Movement about it were presented right next to the governor’s words. As the authors inform us, the SLS had a meeting to decide its next move at the same time that the inaugural address was taking place. The Movement had already achieved desegregation in many public spaces in several southern states, and everything was indicating that more such steps would follow. “They needed a victory”, commented Fred Shuttlesworth, degrading Wallace’s words to a desperate attempt to convince the country that the segregationists would successfully prevent any further advance of the Movement, despite that the what would follow had already become obvious.
As it comes to the big picture on the right page, the governor’s seemingly rigid statements are infiltrated by references to the true nature of the situation. His call for segregation is accompanied by the realization that if the Movement comes to Birmingham, a huge step towards integration would have been made. Even his promise for “Segregation forever” is followed by Shuttlesworth comment, that the aforementioned achievement of the Movement would “shake the country”. Segregation was a beast tyrannizing the South for years. And no matter how intimidating the breaths it takes might seem, the creators of the graphic novel successfully convey the message that in fact, they are some of the remaining few.