Courage Marches onto Campus; Congressman John Lewis Visits The Hun School for Raider Reads Day
Civil rights leader Congressman John Lewis, co-author Andrew Aydin, and graphic artist Nate Powell – the creative team behind the March series of graphic novels – spoke to students, faculty, staff, and guests at The Hun School on Tuesday, October 6th. March is Congressman Lewis’ first-hand account of the civil rights movement and the landmark “Bloody Sunday” March in Selma, Alabama. Together, the creators of March discussed how chronicling John Lewis’s story became a graphic novel and a NY Times bestseller. Their visit coincided with the School’s inaugural Raider Reads Day.
“We’re trying our best to inspire another generation of young people (not just in America, but around the world) to stand up; to be brave; to be courageous. And, when you see something that is not right, you make a little noise,” said Congressman Lewis.
All Hun School students read March: Book 1 and Book 2 over the summer. Raider Reads Day was organized by Laura Bishop, The Hun School’s library and media center director, as a culminating activity designed around that shared experience and the themes in the books. It included workshops led by twelve guest presenters from the academic community, seventeen members of The Hun School faculty, and seventeen student presenters. The authors, of course, provided the keynote address.
“From time to time, you have to find ways to make it real; to germinate the issue; to educate – your neighbors, your friends, or an entire country,” said Congressman Lewis. “So, be not afraid. Be bold. Stand up. Speak up. And speak out. That’s what we did in the American civil rights movement, and we brought about a non-violent revolution – a revolution of values, a revolution of ideas.”
Using the March books as an entry point into conversations and creative activities about social justice, equality, and activism, students participated in various workshops. During a variety of sessions, students made their own comic books, constructed live spontaneous performance art, and discussed gender and race issues. Others created stencil art and considered how words and imagery can be a powerful form of persuasive communication. And, taking inspiration from the creative work of the March team, students and leaders discussed how real change is possible.
Students Shannon Dargan ’16, Carmel Monckton ’16, and Charlotte Stout ’16 led an open discussion about feminism entitled: The Truth and the Stigma – What Your Mother Didn’t Tell You. Shannon sees the process of working toward gender equality as similar to the civil rights movement in the 1960s. “In order to make a change in gender inequality, we have to validate the inequality through education,” said Shannon. “And, we also need to enlist the support of men who recognize that women don’t receive the same treatment as men.”
Eryn Lampkin ’16 considered Congressman Lewis’ keynote address the highlight of the program. After the speech, she was one of hundreds who waited in line to have Congressman Lewis sign her copies of March. She said, “That was surreal. I just shook the hand of the man who made it possible for me to go to a school like this. I just met a man who was in five chapters of my history book.”
The Hun School of Princeton is an independent, coeducational, private day and boarding college preparatory school. Student-centered, hands-on learning prepares students for the global community in which they will live and work.