Georgia U.S. Rep. John Lewis and Andrew Aydin, co-authors of the the graphic novel series March, are featured speakers at a Family Action Network event at 7 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 29, at the Evanston Township High School auditorium.
March: Book One was distributed to ETHS Class of 2020 students* as the “one book” reading selection for ETHS District 202 in preparation for meaningful discussions during the 2016-17 school year.
The event is free and open to the public and seating is first-come, first-served.
When John Lewis, the U.S. Representative for Georgia’s 5th District and an American icon known for his role in the civil rights movement, was a college student in Nashville, Tennessee, he attended a workshop on nonviolence that changed his life.
Based on the principles of Gandhi and the recent Montgomery Bus Boycott, it also included a comic book — Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story — as a take-home study aid in nonviolent resistance. “That little book became like a Bible for us,” says Rep. Lewis.
Fifty years later, he teamed with co-writer Andrew Aydin, his congressional digital director and policy advisor, and artist Nate Powell to adapt his own incredible life story into a three-part series of award-winning graphic novels, entitled March.
The March series is a #1 New York Times-bestselling phenomenon, earning a Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, becoming a popular selection for university reading programs, and prompting the Washington Post to write, "There is perhaps no more important modern book to be stocked in American school libraries than March."
Rep. Lewis first joined the civil rights movement as a seminary student in Nashville, organizing sit-ins and participating in the first Freedom Rides, which challenged illegal segregation at bus stations across the South.
He soon became the chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and one of the “Big Six” national leaders of the movement, alongside such figures as Martin Luther King, Jr. and A. Philip Randolph.
As SNCC chairman, Lewis was an architect of, and the youngest featured speaker at, the historic 1963 March on Washington, and was a key figure in the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer.
Together with Hosea Williams, he led the landmark “Bloody Sunday” March in Selma, Alabama, where police brutality spurred national outrage and hastened passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Despite physical attacks, serious injuries, and more than 40 arrests, John Lewis has remained a devoted advocate of the philosophy of nonviolence. His subsequent career has included voter registration activism, service on the Atlanta City Council, and over 25 years in Congress. Lewis was awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in 2011, and was the first recipient of the John F. Kennedy “Profile in Courage” Lifetime Achievement Award.
ETHS is located at 1600 Dodge Ave., Evanston, 60201. The auditorium is wheelchair accessible. Guests should plan to arrive at least 20 minutes prior to 7 p.m. to find parking and seats. Parking is available in the lot across from the main entrance, off of Dodge Avenue, or in the lots behind the high school. Parking is also available along Dodge Avenue according to posted City of Evanston signs. The event will be videotaped for future viewing.
Loyola University Chicago School of Law will also host an afternoon FAN event with Lewis and Aydin on Aug. 29. The events are sponsored by Family Action Network in partnership with the Anti-Defamation League of Chicago, the Moran Center for Youth Advocacy, and the YWCA Evanston/North Shore. For more information about FAN events and sponsors for the 2016-17 presentations, visit www.familyactionnetwork.net.