In the mid-to-late 1950s, mobilizing a nonviolent protest was not quite as simple as propagating a hashtag. However, there were parallel methods of distribution of protest tactics, in this case through a small graphic novel called Martin Luther King and The Montgomery Story. The 14-page strip published in 1958 showed how protestors had nonviolently led the Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott, started by Rosa Parks in 1955.

Now, thanks to the work of an activist congressman and his aide, The Montgomery Story is getting reissued in print and digital forms. House Representative John Lewis simply mentioned the book to his staffer Andrew Aydin. Aydin became so fascinated with the piece that he ended up writing a dissertation on the book. The pair then became inspired in the form of his Lewis’s own struggles and participation in the movement in the 1950s and ‘60s.

Lewis, himself a storied figure from the civil rights era and an ardent follower of Martin Luther King Jr, now in his 27th year in congress, worked with a comic book artist named Nate Powell to create his own graphic novel. His book is produced in a trilogy, under the name March. Book one in the series was already released and spent three months on the New York Times bestseller list. Part two is set to be released next year. The hope is to show through a new medium how young people can still participate in these kind of tactics.

Following the success of that book, the team has redoubled efforts in order to reprint The Montgomery Story. The only trouble now has been discerning what comic artist of the age actually drew the pictures.

“I am close, though nothing definitive yet,” Aydin told Fast to Create. “We have a working theory, and several comic artists have been helping me track down leads, but so far, none have panned out. Recently, we uncovered more documents that I’m saving for an upcoming book.” 

Martin Luther King and The Montgomery Story is available from the Fellowship of Reconciliation and March: Book One is available from Top Shelf Productions.

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[via Fast to Create]