Tagged: Montgomery Story

Molly Jackson: Class time!


Happy May the Fourth! It is a big day for Star Wars fans but rather than talk about adventures far far away, let’s look at a comic in this galaxy.

Nigeria has been going through a rough time lately. Falling oil prices, violence popping up regularly affected the country poorly, while changes to school curriculums seem to have made learning history very difficult. Enter Panaramic Entertainment. They have started a new comic series called Okiojo’s Chronicles, which explores the different ethnic groups in the country. There are over 250, so this series will be going on for quite a while.

With Panaramic taking the time to write down Nigeria’s ethnic histories, it can be preserved for future generations. Currently, it is most often passed down verbally through families and very few historical books are available to kids.

History in comics has always been a long standing practice. In the US, it was famously used during the civil rights movement to share the story of the Montgomery non-violent protests. Then, the comic was used to spread a message and now, it stands as a teaching tool to make sure those circumstances never happen again. The first comics from Panaramic serve the same purpose, teaching youth about the two biggest ethnic groups in Nigeria, the Yoruba and Hausa. A third comic, titled 1897, teaches the history of British occupation in southern Nigeria.

Comics as a teaching tool have really taken off in the past decade, with graphic novels being an easier way to get kids interested in reading. It’s been working well in this country, and the concept has continued throughout the globe. Without The Montgomery Story to inspire change and spread hope, it would have been possible to stop the movement before it began. Now, that comic is used globally to show how that movement grew and the impact it had at the time.

The past fuels the future, and to deny that means to deny any growth. Nigeria is currently on the path for pure capitalism. However, if they want to be a global power, understanding each other and where they came from would be a big start.

Mike Gold: The Genuine American Hero


Yesterday I had the privilege of joining fellow ComicMixers Martha Thomases and Adriane Nash and a standing-room-only crowd at Columbia University to hear Congressman John R. Lewis talk about graphic novels.

Congressman John LewisMake no mistake about it: Congressman Lewis is a genuine hero. I realize that’s a word we toss around rather lightly these days, but believe me, he is the real thing.  A recipient of the American Medal of Freedom, the highest honor we bestow upon civilians, Congressman Lewis was one of the original leaders of the 1960s civil rights movement. As such, he organized (with others, of course) the Freedom Riders, the civil rights march on Washington, the march from Selma to Montgomery Alabama, and a great many other actions that helped make real the concept of America to all Americans. A student and cohort of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, he has been beaten, fire bombed, left for dead, and arrested over 40 times. He has talked the talk and walked the walk, and ours is a better nation for it. Far, far better.

Congressman John R. Lewis is also a graphic novelist.

Along with co-writer Andrew Aydin and artist Nate Powell, Congressman Lewis has produced the three volume graphic novel March. Please note the third volume, which is the longest of the trio, will be released this coming summer. We have reviewed March here at ComicMix. In fact, twice.

Montgomery MarchCongressman Lewis’s speech, joined by co-writer Aydin and hosted by comics legend Paul Levitz, was certainly about his life and his work. But it was equally about graphic novels and how ours is an important medium for the sharing of ideas – just ask Art Spiegelman. He also disclosed how he was inspired by a 1956 comic book that was edited by Dr. King, The Montgomery Story. You might want to check it out for yourself.

After the event, Adriane said we should have more non-fiction graphic novels. That’s a passion of mine as well, and I thank Congressman Lewis for making such future efforts significantly more feasible.

Of course, that’s towards the bottom of the list of things for which I thank this true hero. March is the story of America, and it is the story of a man who put his life on the line repeatedly to make America … America.

Of course we need more such heroes. But, basking in the inspiration from this great man, I am truly grateful we have Congressman John R. Lewis.