One Book, One Bedford ~ MARCH: Kick-off Events to Feature Discussions of the Graphic Novel Format and the Civil Rights Movement / October 14 and 15

Submitted by The Bedford Citizen’s One Book, One Bedford Committee

The “One Book, One Bedford” community read of Representative John Lewis’s graphic-novel trilogy, MARCH, kicks off next weekend, October 14 and 15, with two events to give all readers solid context for the content and form of the books.

A leader in the civil rights movement, Lewis offers an eyewitness account of non-violent activism, starting with the Freedom Riders (1961), through the March on Washington (1963) and the March from Selma to Montgomery (1965), and concluding with the signing of the Voting Rights Act (1965).

On Saturday, October 14, at 2:00pm in the Bedford Library Meeting Room, join local graphic novel enthusiast (and Brookline librarian) Robin Brenner for a look into the medium of comics and sequential art.  Learn about the history of the art form, the elements that make it unique, where to find what to read based on your tastes, and why the format is an engaging and vital one for all readers. MARCH is just one outstanding example of the possibilities of the format, and you’ll leave with read-alike recommendations and more titles and creators to explore.

The next day, Sunday, October 15, at 2:00pm in the Multipurpose Room at Town Hall, Dr. Daniel Breen will lecture on the history of the Civil Rights movement. Breen is well known to Bedford residents due to his popular annual lecture series at the Bedford Free Public Library.

As Breen notes, “In Book One of MARCH, John Lewis describes the events that led him, at grave personal risk, to oppose the murderous cruelty of southern segregation in the 1950s. This lecture will offer a glimpse into the immensity of the obstacles Lewis and others would face as they took that system on, not only by describing the system of Jim Crow into which Lewis was born, but also by tracing some of the earlier efforts by African-Americans to challenge it.”

Breen is a professor of Legal Studies at Brandeis University. He has a Ph.D. from Boston College, and both a J.D. and M.A. from University of Georgia.

The MARCH 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.

More information on the program can be found at

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