On this page, John Lewis and the Freedom Riders are about to embark on nonviolent protest against racial segregation through riding buses to various southern states where segregation is most enforced. The Freedom Riders are sharing one last meal before they begin this civil disobedience that could cost them their lives. One of the members states “eat well, everyone—this may be our last supper,” alluding to the biblical Last Supper where Jesus Christ knew he would die to save the sins of humanity. The position of James Farmer in this panel, his hands open upwards similar to many depictions of Jesus during the Last Supper emphasizes this relinquishment, an acceptance of the deadly fate that these protestors might meet. The depiction of the Freedom Riders around Farmer- glancing at each other wearily as he professes his sacrifice- further continues the biblical parallel. When Jesus announces to the Twelve Apostles that one of them will betray him, each Apostle exclaims, “Surely it is not I, Lord?” (Matthew 26: 22). Each Apostle here is trying to display their allegiance to Jesus and to his mission. In the panel, each Rider eyes each other as Farmer tells them that they do not have to protest if they don’t want to, indicating that each Rider is challenging the other Riders’ loyalty to this movement. The change from the close up of James Farmer on the first panel, to the group of Freedom Riders on the next panel, and finally to the world outside of the group in the next reveals the gravity of the work they’re about to do; these protests, however they may end, will affect every aspect of society, whether that be the individual, the group, or the entire society as a whole.
Using biblical language in this comic reflects the spirit of Jesus’ civil disobedience and martyrdom that the Freedom Riders want to embody and highlights the truly biblical effect of the protests on the interactions both between segregationists and anti-segregationists and within those groups as well. What more, this panel reimagines Christianity as an all-inclusive religion, which was not the case during the peak of white supremacy during the Civil Rights era. White Christianity and hypocrisy was especially prominent, and by using biblical references highlights the sense of revolution that the Freedom Riders are pushing for; not only the death of segregation in secular public life, but also the death of the idea that Christ is only for white people