Nate Powell, Ignatz and Eisner award-winning graphic novelist, has been chosen to be the artist for the forthcoming March, a graphic autobiography of U.S. Congressman John Lewis, a former SNCC chairman and legendary veteran of the Civil Rights Movement. The announcement was made today at the San Diego Comic-con International. Lewis is writing March in collaboration with Andrew Aydin and the historical graphic work will be published sometime in late 2013.
Originally announced back in early 2011, the book is a look back by Rep. Lewis (D-Ga.), the U.S. representative from Georgia’s 5th Congressional district, at a life devoted to social justice and the book will provide a first-hand look at Lewis’ involvement in the historic actions that defeated the Jim Crow laws and racist discrimination against black people during the worst years of U.S. segregation. Lewis was a key figure during the 1963 March on Washington D.C. and during the 1965 Selma-Montgomery March.
Considered one of the pillars of Civil Rights leadership of the early 1960s along with such figures as Whitney Young, Roy Wilkins and A. Philip Randolph, Lewis’s courage and determination to register black voters in the face of hostile racist mobs and vicious beatings has become legend. During the 1964 Missisippi Freedom Summer, Lewis was brutally beaten by the Alabama State Troopers while he and activist Hosea Williams attempted to lead a group of marchers across Edmund Pettis Bridge in Selma, Al. This is but one episode among many in which he put his life on the line, marching and demanding equal rights for all Americans. He was first elected to congress in 1987.
In a release, Congressman Lewis said the book, “is not just a story of struggle; it is a story of involvement. It shows the ups, the downs, the ins and the outs of a movement. It is my hope that this work will be meaningful to future generations, to give many people here in America and around the world the urge to build their own world, their own future.”
Powell is the author of the 2008 graphic novel Swallow Me Whole, which was awarded an Ignatz Award and Eisner Award for outstanding graphic novel of 2009. The book was also nominated for the L.A. Times Book Prize for graphic novels. Powell also did the art for The Silence of Our Friends, written by Jim Demonakos and published by First Second Books in 2012, a true story set during the years of the Civil Rights Movement.
Based in Lewis’ state of Georgia, Top Shelf publisher Chris Staros said in a release, “As a proud resident of Georgia, and a long-time fan of the honorable Congressman, this is truly a deep honor. To bring, not only his life’s story, but that of the Civil Rights Movement to the comics medium is truly exciting. This will make this historical and timeless message accessible to an entirely new generation of readers.”