Preparations for a Southern election are beginning to face fresh obstacles. Polling places are to be moved or removed and, according to at least one American leader, Jim Crow is “alive and well.”
That description is not of the political actions this month in Georgia but rather from a longtime Georgian leader in his forthcoming chronicle of the civil rights movement set in the mid-’60s. If it is true that history doesn’t repeat itself but often rhymes, then the late congressman John Lewis, D-Ga., will be returning to the national bookshelves this summer as a graphic-novel poet.
Abrams ComicArts and Good Trouble Productions have announced that the Lewis memoir “Run: Book One” — a sequel to the best-selling “March” trilogy — will be published Aug. 3. The civil rights icon completed the story before his death last July at 80, collaborating with “March” co-authors Andrew Aydin and artist Nate Powell, as well as a new member, Dallas-based illustrator L. Fury, making her debut as a graphic novelist.
The cover by Powell and Fury reflects the escalation of events after “Bloody Sunday” in Selma and passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act — as some run from or toward racist violence, and some run for office.
“The reason it’s called ‘Run’ is because first you march, then you run,” Aydin says by phone last week. “It’s about showing how a young person like John Lewis can go from being well known but seen as largely radical by the vast majority of the American republic to being a public servant.”
The “March” books received critical acclaim — including the first National Book Award for a comic book — while also popularizing and contextualizing a favorite Lewis phrase to urge nonviolent civil disobedience: “Make good trouble.”
“I think the congressman, particularly in the last four or five years, had his eye on how we can inspire and motivate this new generation to participate in the democratic process not just as voters, but as public servants,” says Aydin, who also worked as Lewis’s digital communications director.
The purpose of “Run” is “to show people that the mission did not end with the signing of the Voting Rights Act,” Aydin says. “Turn the page, and the story became a new chapter in the same struggle. Often we celebrate the great victory and forget what happens next.
“When you consider what is happening today,” Aydin continues, it is “urgent that we tell this next chapter.”
Due to a delay in receiving data, the Publishers Weekly bestsellers list isn’t available this week.