One Book, One Bedford ~ Representative John Lewis’s Graphic-Novel Trilogy: MARCH

Courtesy image (c) 2017 all rights reserved – Click to view larger image

Submitted by The Bedford Citizen

The “One Book, One Bedford” community read of Representative John Lewis’s graphic-novel trilogy, MARCH, kicks off in less than a month, with events planned from mid-October through early November.

The trilogy, co-written by Andrew Aydin and illustrated by Nate Powell, covers Lewis’s youth in rural Alabama, his young adulthood as a student activist and Freedom Rider, and his leadership in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Major events from the Civil Rights Era, including the 1963 March on Washington, the Freedom Ride movement, and the 1965 Selma to Montgomery March for voting rights, are covered in detail.

The One Book, One Bedford program is open to all, with events planned for all ages and a variety of ways to participate. Books are available to borrow at the Bedford Library, and can be purchased through traditional and online booksellers.

The key component of any One Book, One Bedford program is book discussion groups. There are four opportunities for group discussion: October 20 at 10:00 am, October 23 at 7:30 pm, October 29 at 2:00 pm, and October 30 at 3:30 pm. The October 30 event is specifically for middle-schoolers, as part of the library’s middle-school book club.

Readers interested in the graphic novel form can attend the kickoff event on Saturday, October 14, when librarian and blogger Robin Brenner offers “Graphic Novels 101” at 2:00 at the Bedford Library. Younger graphic-novel enthusiasts can learn about the format from artist Eli Portman, who will offer two workshops at the library on Wednesday, October 18, at 1:30 pm for grades 6-12 and 3:30 pm for grades 3-5 (registration is encouraged for the later program).

Those interested in the history of the Civil Rights movement and its connections to modern-day activism have several options as well. Professor Dan Breen, who has offered several popular lecture series at the Bedford Library, will speak on the Civil Right Era on Sunday, October 15, at 2:00 pm in the Multipurpose Room at Bedford Town Hall. The Bedford Library will also host a screening of Ava DuVernay’s 2014 film SELMA, depicting the 1965 march led by Rep. Lewis and others that galvanized support for the passage of the Voting Rights Act, on Thursday, October 26, at 6:30 pm. During the closing weekend of the program, NECN commentator and frequent speaker Rev. Irene Monroe will present a talk on intersectional activism, on Saturday, November 4, at 2:00 pm at Town Hall, connecting the events of MARCH to contemporary efforts to combat racism, sexism, and other forms of discrimination.

For the final program, on Sunday, November 5 (time and location TBD), The Citizen’s Julie McCay Turner will facilitate an interview with Robert Parris Moses, former SNCC field secretary and director of the SNCC Mississippi Project, about his experiences during the Civil Rights Era, some of which are depicted in MARCH: BOOK THREE. We are honored to have Dr. Moses give his first-hand account of the movement and its mission.

All three books in the MARCH trilogy were New York Times bestsellers. MARCH: BOOK ONE was a Coretta Scott King Honor Book, an ALA Notable Book, and a winner of the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award. MARCH: BOOK TWO won the Will Eisner Award and was a YALSA Great Graphic Novel for Teens. MARCH: BOOK THREE won the National Book Award, the Michael L. Printz Award, the Coretta Scott King Award, the Robert F. Sibert Award, the YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Award, and the Walter Dean Myers Award. The books are recommended for adults, high schoolers, and middle schoolers; each book does include scenes of violence and harsh (but historically accurate) language.

The Bedford Citizen picked up the mantle of “One Book, One Bedford” from the Bedford Free Public Library, which sponsored the program for many years and is an active partner in the planning this year. The Friends of the Bedford Library, the Bedford Cultural Council, and the Bedford Public Schools are also supporting the program in many ways.

More information on One Book, One Bedford and the program’s events can be found at

Several members of The Bedford Citizen’s board of directors ‘Marched for MARCH’ in the Bedford Day parade.

Board members (l-r) Bob Dorer, Ginni Spencer, Teri Morrow, Nancy Asbedian, Emily Mitchell, and Jan Shepard on Page Field, waiting to march in the 2017 Bedford Day Parade – Courtesy Image (c) 2017 all rights reserved


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