March on Washington

Julie Polter 8-02-2013

The March by PBS / Secular Days, Sacred Moments edited by David Cooper / One True Vine by Mavis Staples / The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict by Dale Hanson Bourke

Sandi Villarreal / Sojourners

Nate Powell (l), Congressman John Lewis, and Andrew Aydin on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma. Sandi Villarreal / Sojourners

It may have taken a little bit of prodding — a little ‘you-want-me-to-do-what?’ and a lot of faith — but in the end, Congressman John Lewis agreed to go along with staffer Andrew Aydin’s out-of-the-box idea. The result: March (Book 1) — the first of a three-part graphic novel autobiography chronicling Lewis’ life and the Civil Rights Movement.

“The story of the movement that we tell is very much John Lewis’ story in this first book,” Aydin said. “It is a story of him growing up poor, on a farm, and it builds to a climax of the national sit-in movement.”

Lewis certainly has a lot to tell. He and other activists famously were beaten by police on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., in 1965 during an attempted march for voting rights — an event that became known as “Bloody Sunday.” He served as chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee during the height of the movement, spoke at the historic March on Washington alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and was instrumental in the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Aydin, who co-wrote the book with Congressman Lewis, and illustrator Nate Powell sat down with Sojourners to explain how the series came about and why it is such an important story these 50 years later.

Jim Wallis 4-04-2013
Jim Wallis at the Lincoln Memorial. Photo by Brandon Hook / Sojourners

Jim Wallis at the Lincoln Memorial. Photo by Brandon Hook / Sojourners

I recently went back to the Lincoln Memorial to tell the story of how and why I wrote my new book, On God’s Side: What Religion Forgets and Politics Hasn’t Learned About Serving the Common Good. And I reflected on my favorite Lincoln quote, displayed on the book’s cover:

“My concern is not whether God is on our side: my greatest concern is to be on God’s side.”

I invite you to watch this short video, and to engage in the discussion as we move forward toward our common good. Blessings.

Martin Witchger 3-12-2013
Photo by Sandi Villarreal / Sojourners

Martin Luther King, Jr., statue in Kelly Ingram Park, Birmingham, Ala. Photo by Sandi Villarreal / Sojourners

It’s been 50 years since several significant events of the civil rights movement of the 1960s occurred, yet our society is still plagued with systemic racism. It’s been almost 150 years since we abolished slavery in this country, yet many are still enslaved daily by the oppression of discrimination and poverty. While significant strides in equality and justice have taken place, new systems of injustices have been instated and threaten the integrity of our much-stated rights of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

I am most presently thinking of the system of the “New Jim Crow,” something author and advocate Michelle Alexander has awakened society to with the recent publication of her book with that title. The New Jim Crowrefers to the web of injustices related to mass incarceration and the stripping of basic rights of returning citizens reminiscent of the Jim Crow laws of our nation’s history. Today, returning citizens face “legalized discrimination” from employers and landlords, making it extremely difficult for them to get a job or a place to live. Additionally, in many states they are not allowed to sit on a jury or express their right to vote, meaning their voices are stifled.

'Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C. [Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and Mathew Ahmann, Executive Director of the National Catholic Conference for Interrracial Justice, in a crowd.], 08/28/1963' photo (c) 1963, The U.S. National Archives - license: http://www.flickr.com/commons/usage/How should music rank among the ever-growing list of time-tested nonviolent methods such as boycotts, marches, strikes, sit-ins, and vigils?

Anthony Shadid of the New York Times reports that a song, "Come on Bashar, Leave," is spreading across Syria, boldly calling on President Bashar al-Assad to step down. (Bryan Farrell also wrote about it at the Waging Nonviolence blog.) The article suggests that a young cement layer who chanted it in demonstrations was pulled from the Orontes River this month, his throat having been cut, and, according to residents of the city of Hama, his vocal chords torn out. Hama is where, in 1982, then-president Hafez al-Assad, father of the current president named in the song, gave orders to the army to massacre more than 10,000 in putting down an Islamist upheaval. Today, boys 6-years-old and older vocalize their own rendition of the original warbler's song instead. As the song has sped across Syria, demonstrators have adopted it for themselves.

Jarrod McKenna 4-04-2011

"I had no idea Martin Luther King was a radical!" These shocked words were spoken to me this weekend after an activist training I'd been running in Sydney. I had the privilege to be part of the Make Poverty History "action lab" -- a "teach-in" for 15 young anti-poverty activists chosen from each state of Australia.

We set aside a national holiday to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. because he welded an ethos of agape love onto the founding principles of the United States.
Jim Rice 9-09-2010
The night before Glenn Beck's rally in Washington last month, Beck visited the studio where host Joe Madison does his XM radio show.
Johnathan Smith 9-03-2010

Last weekend, the nation had an opportunity to reflect, commemorate, and celebrate the March on Washington and Dr.

Jeannie Choi 8-27-2010

Jon Stewart on Ground Zero. Revisiting the Lower Ninth Ward. The March on Washington. Here's a roundup of links from around the web you may have missed this week:

Jim Wallis 8-26-2010
This coming Saturday, August 28 will mark the 47th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, where King delivered his famous "I Have a Dream Speech." Glenn Beck has chosen this d

[Editor's Note: In anticipation of the anniversary of the March on Washington on August 28, 1963, God's Politics will feature a series of posts on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King.

Troy Jackson 8-24-2010
[Editor's Note: In anticipation of the anniversary of the March on Washington on August 28, 1963, God's Politics will featu
Vincent Harding 8-23-2010
[Editor's Note: In anticipation of the anniversary of the March on Washington on August 28, 1963, God's Politics will feature a series of posts on the
Ruth Hawley-Lowry 8-20-2010
On August 28, 1963 the mastermind of the historic March on Washington, A.
Ruth Hawley-Lowry 7-27-2010
I am grieved and angry that Glenn Beck is going to be on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on August 28 (the anniversary of the historic civil rights March on Washington on August 28, 1963) -- and
The controversy over the injustice done to Shirley Sherrod, the African-American woman whose comments on race were taken out of context, misreported, an

In an age when many leaders desperately seek their 15 minutes of YouTube fame, Dr. Dorothy Irene Height was celebrated by presidents and everyday citizens alike for being the rarest of all humans -- a servant leader.

Marco Saavedra 3-25-2010

March 21, 2010: With crowd turnout twice the expected size, I squeezed my way toward the main stage to hear faith, labor, community, and immigrant leaders tell America why we need to reform immigration.

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