Such a tremendous honor to speak with Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell about the March graphic novels on BYUradio. (Link to interview below.)
It's hard to express how powerful these books were to a white girl raised in a white community in the Western US. School sivics lessons didn't convey the scope of the #CivilRights struggle, or what it had to do with me. It was simple to sit comfortably in my position of white privilege and say, "I'm not a racist. I believe skin color shouldn't matter," then close the history book and feel smug about living in a day when America is so "colorblind," we've elected an African American president. This is why I agree with so many others who've said the March Trilogy should be required reading in high schools around the country. It tells the story of the Civil Rights movement through the eyes of John Lewis, a central figure in the lunch counter sit-ins, the freedom rides, the March on Washington in 1963, the march from Selma to Montgomery, and the list goes on. He was beaten and jailed dozens of times, but never lost his commitment to non-violent protest, never raised a finger in retaliation. The March Books are history in comic-form, but they feel very current with simmering tension between police and communities of color, and the rise of the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
"I'm not a hero," Rep. Lewis told me. "I saw things I didn't like and I was told, 'That's the way it is.'" But he didn't accept that. He stood up for what he believed was right, even when it could have meant his death. He never became bitter or hostile, never embraced hate. And his message to young people today? Speak up. Speak out. Make a contribution.
Listen to our conversation here.