I think it’s been about three years since I swore off the terror porn of Fox’s 24, but here I am, on Martin Luther King Day of all days, thinking about crawling back for more. I’m ashamed, but I guess it could be worse. I mean, it’s not real torture, right?
Before I slink off into the shadows to watch Jack Bauer dispatch baddies, though, I did want to share something about Martin Luther King that I found interesting. Apparently, shortly after the successful resolution of the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1956, a comic book was published by the Fellowship of Reconciliation, telling the story of how non-violent civil disobedience, as preached by King and practiced by the men and women of Montgomery, had led to victory. It’s unknown how many issues were printed, but the comic proved to be incredibly effective. In fact, according to an article at Book Patrol, it was “one of the most influential teaching tools ever produced for the Civil Rights Movement.” Here’s a clip from the article:
…The use of a simple, graphic format to teach young freedom fighters the techniques Dr. King used in Montgomery was a stroke of genius. Many of the foot soldiers in the army for civil rights were teenagers who had been educated at sub-standard, separate but unequal schools. Those unable to read well can still learn quickly from the pictures in a comic book, and reluctant readers can be lured in by an eye-caching illustration. The Montgomery Story was written to inspire these young victims of segregation to nonviolent action, and to warn them of the consequences. The comic is daringly honest in depicting the Ku Klux Klan’s use of cross burnings and bombings to terrorize those seeking equal rights. And time and again the tremendous effort necessary to truly “love your enemies” in the face of hatred and violence is underscored in both words and pictures….
It’s an amazing piece of work, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it brings a few of you to tears, as it did me. You can read the entire 14-page comic here.
Tonight’s post, minus the stuff about 24, is dedicated to a friend of mine in Atlanta – an artist by the name of Archie Byron. Archie, whom I believe was the first black man to own and operate a private detective agency in the United States, was a childhood friend of King’s. Somewhere around this old house of mine, I’ve got video of Archie talking with me about his time with King. (Archie handled security for the King family after the MLK assassination.) I’ve been saying it since Archie passed away in 2005, but I really need to find it and put it online. It’s the least that I can do to honor his memory and that of King. (Archie, it’s probably worth noting, owned an inner-city shooting range when I knew him. Furthermore, if I’m remembering correctly, he disagreed with King on the practice of non-violence. Archie was of the opinion, I believe, that violence had its place.)