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Topic: New John Lewis Graphic Memoir ‘Run’ Holds Timely Lessons For Today’s Activists

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New John Lewis Graphic Memoir ‘Run’ Holds Timely Lessons For Today’s Activists
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New John Lewis Graphic Memoir ‘Run’ Holds Timely Lessons For Today’s Activists

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John Lewis was many things: civil rights icon, champion of non-violence, influential Congressman, and also the National Book Award-winning author of a best-selling trilogy of graphic novels (March Books 1-3), looking back on his early years in the movement. He and his collaborators, writer Andrew Aydin and artists Nate Powell and L. Fury, intended to continue his memoir in the same format with Run, which comes out August 3 from Abrams ComicArts. Though Lewis did not live to see its release, the book serves as a reminder that the battles for equality and multiracial democracy that defined his public career remain current events, not history.

 

Whereas the moral universe of the March trilogy, covering the fight to end legal segregation, was fairly well defined, Run tackles the more complex era following the passage of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act in 1965, when the movement began to fragment along questions of ideology and tactics, and opponents became more sophisticated in their efforts to perpetuate white domination. This was a difficult period for the country in general, but also for Lewis personally when he found himself ousted from leadership of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and in deep disagreement with the more confrontational tactics of the emerging Black Power movement. pg gaming

Lewis’s co-author, friend and longtime congressional aide Andrew Aydin said that portraying the sincere debates that took place within the broader struggle for justice is important to both history and the current day. “When we look at [any social justice movement], it’s easy to sensationalize the disagreements and show it as fractured when in fact it is normal to have these debates. The most important part is that you have disagreements internally, but then march together for the common purpose. Young people should know that what they’re going through now [in the BLM movement and elsewhere] is very similar to what John Lewis went through in his time.”

 

He also said that he and Lewis wanted to show the politics of the civil rights era in the context of its time, including how leaders became skeptical of President Johnson over Vietnam and took controversial positions on all kinds of social and political issues. “Most Americans have this idealistic picture of that era that boils down to a few words, I have a dream,” said Aydin. “There's a tendency to whitewash the legacy of the movement, and I’m very concerned that people are going to water down [Lewis’s] radicalism, his militancy, everything that made him ahead of his time down to his final days in Congress to present this corporate, sanitized version of him.”



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