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No superheroes, just real heroes:

comic book tells the civil rights story


By McClatchy Washington Bureau, adapted by Newsela staff on 02.01.15
Word Count 360

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. leads a protest march to the courthouse in Montgomery, Alabama, on March 17,
1965. From left are Ralph Abernathy, James Forman, King, Rev. S.L. Douglas and John Lewis. Photo: AP
Photo

WASHINGTON John Lewis is a United States Congress member. He votes on


laws for the entire country.
When Lewis was young, in the early 1960s, he was not allowed to vote. AfricanAmericans in the South were not treated fairly. They could not vote. Black
children could not go to school with white children.

Struggling For Rights


Now, Lewis has written comic books about those years. His latest book is called
March: Book Two. It shows the struggle to win equal rights for black people.
Sometimes, pictures explain more than words alone.
In the 1960s, Lewis was in his 20s. He was a civil rights leader. He led peaceful
protests. The protesters said black people should be treated fairly. Many white
people in the South reacted to this with anger and violence.
"For me to look at some of the drawings, it almost makes me cry," Lewis said.
Lewis' rst book was called March: Book One. It begins when Lewis was a boy
on his parents farm in Alabama.

Students Need To Know


Lewis' second book begins in 1960. It ends with the 1963 March on Washington.
More than 200,000 people gathered in Washington. They told the government
that black people should be treated fairly. The Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.
gave a famous speech called "I Have a Dream."
Lewis was one of six people who planned that march. He is the only one still
living.
Schools in 40 states have used Lewis' rst book. Not enough schools teach
students about the civil rights movement, he said.
Lewis wrote the book with Andrew Aydin. Artist Nate Powell drew the pictures.

Writing A Comic Book


Aydin came up with the idea for the comic book. He works for Lewis. In 2008,
Aydin had some days off. He said he planned to go to a comic book convention.
People laughed.
Dont laugh, Lewis told them. A comic book inspired Lewis when he was 17.
The comic was about Martin Luther King.
Aydin told Lewis he should write a comic book.
Kids need to learn more about civil rights, Aydin thought. A comic book might
be the way to do it.

Quiz
1

What is the main idea of the article?


(A)

It explains how Congressman Lewis has written two comic books


about the civil rights movement.

(B)

It explains how a comic book is written.

(C)

It explains the civil rights movement.

(D)

It explains how the Congressman came to write a comic book.

Read the section "Students Need To Know." Select the paragraph that explains the
main idea of the section.

Which sentence from the article tells the reader about how African-Americans were
treated in the South?

(A)

African-Americans in the South were not treated fairly.

(B)

He votes on laws for the entire country.

(C)

The protesters said black people should be treated fairly.

(D)

Many white people in the South reacted to this with anger and
violence.

Which paragraph of the section "Struggling For Rights" provides information about
Congressman Lewis?
(A)

paragraph 1

(B)

paragraph 2

(C)

paragraph 3

(D)

paragraph 4

Answer Key
1

What is the main idea of the article?


(A)

It explains how Congressman Lewis has written two comic


books about the civil rights movement.

(B)

It explains how a comic book is written.

(C)

It explains the civil rights movement.

(D)

It explains how the Congressman came to write a comic book.

Read the section "Students Need To Know." Select the paragraph that explains the
main idea of the section.
Paragraph 9:
Schools in 40 states have used Lewis' first book. Not enough schools
teach students about the civil rights movement, he said.

Which sentence from the article tells the reader about how African-Americans were
treated in the South?
(A)

African-Americans in the South were not treated fairly.

(B)

He votes on laws for the entire country.

(C)

The protesters said black people should be treated fairly.

(D)

Many white people in the South reacted to this with anger and
violence.

Which paragraph of the section "Struggling For Rights" provides information about
Congressman Lewis?
(A)

paragraph 1

(B)

paragraph 2

(C)

paragraph 3

(D)

paragraph 4