Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Civil-rights icon John Lewis discusses graphic memoir during UIS appearance

U.S. Rep. John Lewis, a leader in the American civil rights movement of the 1960s, said the story of the struggle is not being passed down to today’s high school and college students.

Lewis, D-Georgia, was at the University of Illinois Springfield Monday to talk to a crowd of more than 1,700 in Sangamon Auditorium about his memoir series “March,” which chronicles his work in the civil rights movement.

The books are "graphic" memoirs, which means the stories are told with illustrations similar to the style of a comic book. “In so many places in America today, people have not been taught anything, or very little about the American civil rights movement,” Lewis, 75, said in an interview with The State Journal-Register before his presentation. “My generation was deeply inspired by Rosa Parks and the leadership of Dr. (Martin Luther) King (Jr.). We studied the philosophy and discipline of non-violence. We were inspired to move, to act, to stand up, to speak out and speak up.”

"March" was written by Lewis and Andrew Aydin and illustrated by Nate Powell. Aydin and Powell were on stage with Lewis as he talked about the book Monday evening. Aydin, who also serves on Lewis’ staff, said the idea for “March” came about in 2008 when the congressman told him about a comic book that came out in 1957 about King. The comic book helped educate a generation about the principles of nonviolent protests and inspired some of the earliest acts of civil disobedience. “When we looked at that comic book ... it became self-evident. If this worked once before, why can’t it work again,”

This story appeared online in The State Journal-Register on October 19, 2015.

Read the entire article here.