Looking to highlight the historic publication of March Book One, the bestselling comics memoir of Civil Rights legend Rep. John Lewis, Top Shelf publisher Chris Staros is donating a digital edition of the book to every member of the U.S. Congress. In addition Top Shelf, in conjunction with the Fellowship of Reconciliation, is bundling the Lewis memoir with Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story, the pioneering 1950s Civil Rights comic book that originally inspired Lewis to pursue a life committed to social justice.
Top Shelf is also working with the historic Fellowship of Reconciliation, an interfaith organization dedicated to the promotion of nonviolent conflict resolution, to help distribute the print edition of the comic book. All proceeds from the distribution of the print and digital edition of Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story will be donated to the FOR. (The Lewis memoir and MLK/Montgomery title are also available for sale in a digital bundle from Comixology).
Each member of the Senate and the House will receive digital copies of the two titles (via Comixology digital download codes) as well as a letter from Rep. Lewis commemorating the book. Both a New York Times and Washington Post bestselling graphic memoir, March Book One was created by Rep. Lewis with Andrew Aydin, a member of his staff, and illustrated by award-winning cartoonist Nate Powell.
In a phone interview with Staros, he joked that donating the book may be the one thing that can bring a fractious Congress together. “In a sense it’s the one thing they can all agree on. It’s a simple gesture that everyone can get behind—the story of the Civil Rights Movement. Everyone supports that and the book is an educational tool that members can put to work in their own districts.”
Staros credited both the Fellowship of Reconciliation, the organization that produced and distributed the original Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story comic book, and digital vendor Comixology for their support in making the congressional donation happen. Staros also said that Top Shelf will assist the FOR with distribution of the print edition of the 1950s comic book which is also available through the FOR website.
“We’ll solicit the print edition in the February Diamond Catalog. It’s available now from FOR but we’re going to help them get the word out further. All proceeds will go the FOR and its mission,” Staros said. Staros also attended the recent National Conference for Social Studies in Boston where Lewis was a featured speaker, “we’re getting a lot of interest from universities who want to use the book in big freshman seminars and from high school educators. Its very exciting.”
Staros said, of March Book One, “We’ve come full circle from the inspirational comic book of the 1950s to now and the educational potential for this new book is really exciting. This book is doing just what it was supposed to do. But just because you have a great book doesn’t always mean it will get the attention it deserves. Everyone, Rep. Lewis, Andrew, Nate, we’ve all done a monumental amount of work to make sure this book gets recognized.”