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John Little (congressman)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

John Little
John Little (congressman).jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Ohio's 8th district
In office
March 4, 1885 – March 3, 1887
Preceded byJ. Warren Keifer
Succeeded byRobert P. Kennedy
13th Ohio Attorney General
In office
January 12, 1874 – January 14, 1878
GovernorWilliam Allen
Rutherford B. Hayes
Thomas L. Young
Preceded byFrancis Bates Pond
Succeeded byIsaiah Pillars
Member of the Ohio House of Representatives
from the Greene County district
In office
January 3, 1870 – January 4, 1874
Preceded byR. F. Howard
Succeeded byIsaac M. Barrett
Personal details
Born(1837-04-25)April 25, 1837
Grape Grove, Ohio
DiedOctober 18, 1900(1900-10-18) (aged 63)
Xenia, Ohio
Resting placeWoodlawn Cemetery, Xenia
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Barbara Jane Sheets
Childrentwo
Alma materAntioch College

John Little (April 25, 1837 – October 18, 1900) was a U.S. Representative from Ohio.

Born near Grape Grove, Ross Township, Greene County, Ohio, Little attended the common schools. He was graduated from Antioch College, Yellow Springs, Ohio, in 1862. He studied law. He was admitted to the bar in 1865 and commenced practice in Xenia, Ohio. He served as mayor of Xenia 1864-1866. He served as prosecuting attorney of Greene County 1866-1870. He served as member of the State house of representatives 1869-1873. Attorney general of Ohio 1873-1877.

Little was elected as a Republican to the Forty-ninth Congress (March 4, 1885 – March 3, 1887). In 1886, he was re-districted, and lost re-election by 2 votes.[1] He resumed the practice of law. He was appointed by President Harrison a member of the United States and Venezuela Claims Commission in 1889 and was its chairman. He served as member of the Ohio State Board of Arbitration. Trustee of Antioch College 1880-1900. He died in Xenia, Ohio, on October 18, 1900. He was interred in Woodland Cemetery.

Little married Barbara Jane Sheets, of Troy, Ohio, October 19, 1865. They had children named George and Mary. Barbara died at Xenia, May 30, 1902.[2][3]

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  • ✪ "March" With Congressman John Lewis
  • ✪ Congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis named speaker for Harvard's Commencement
  • ✪ Congressman John Lewis Address | Harvard Commencement 2018

Transcription

[MUSIC PLAYING] COURTNEY JONES: (SINGING) I was born by the river in a little tent. Oh, and just like that river, I've been running ever since. It's been a long, a long time coming. But I know a change gonna come. Oh, yes it will. It's been too hard living, but I'm afraid to die cause I don't know what's up there, oh, beyond the sky. It's been a long, a long time coming. But I know a change gonna come. Oh, yes it will. Listen, I go to the movies and I go downtown. Somebody keep telling me don't, don't hang around. It's been a long, a long time coming. But I know a change gonna come Oh, yes it will. Listen. Then I go to my brother and my sister and I say, brother, help me please. But he winds up knockin' me down back down, back down on my knees, oh. There were times when I thought I couldn't last this long, but now I know I'm able, I'm able to carry on. It's been a long, a long time coming. But I know a change gonna come. Oh, yes it will. Hey. It's been a long, a long time coming. But I know a change gonna come. Oh, yes it will. Thank you. [APPLAUSE AND CHEERING] RICKEY HALL: Wow. Thank the vocalist and the pianist again. What a way to start this program. So much in those lyrics. On behalf of the University of Washington and the Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity, welcome to this truly special occasion. My name is Rickey Hall, and I am the Vice President for Minority Affairs and Diversity and the Chief Diversity Officer here at the University of Washington. It is a pleasure and great honor to have Congressman Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell here today to speak about their new book, March, and to discuss Representative Lewis' life's work and the path he has helped paved for us all. I would like to think the University of Washington Board of Regents, especially Regent Constance Rice for arranging this incredible opportunity for our students. Thank you, Regent Rice. [APPLAUSE] And thank you to Matthew Bergman of Bergman Draper Ladenburg for your role in bringing Representative Lewis to Seattle. I would also like to thank University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce and the Office of the President for their support of this special event. Before I welcome President Cauce to the stage, I would like to tell you more about the program. Following the conversation, there will be a moderated Q&A with Craig Simms, attorney for Bergman Draper Ladenburg. Then we will take a few-- two or three questions from students in the audience. This event is being recorded by you UWTV. I would like to again thank you all for coming today. Now please join me in welcoming our outstanding president, University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce to the stage. [APPLAUSE] ANA MARI CAUCE: Thank you. Thank you. It really is an understatement for me to say how pleased I am that you could join us today to experience this truly extraordinary moment of intersection. We have the chance to hear from a giant of the civil rights movement at a moment in America's history that is, quite frankly, unparalleled. Sometimes we say that someone doesn't need an introduction, and this is certainly that case. But bear with me just for a little bit as I mention that Representative John Lewis has truly dedicated his life to protecting human rights and to promoting social justice. For more than 50 years, he's worked for nonviolent solutions to build a better world. And today, at this moment, he continues his tireless and fearless public service, leadership, and advocacy. It's no coincidence that he's chosen to be here on a university campus. He took his own first steps on his path to leadership as a young man at Fisk University, and he understands that achieving justice demands the participation of each new generation. And that's why this is billed as a conversation with students, although a few of us who are lifelong students are getting to tag along. His work and his impact inspire us to pick up the baton, to keep carrying it, and to pass it on. As students, as young people, your voice and what you do will determine the future. So I'm delighted that Representative Lewis is here with his co-author, Andrew Aydin, and artist Nate Powell to talk about their award-winning and bestselling book March. The graphic novel is a trilogy of his memoir of a truly remarkable life. I love what The Washington Post said about it. They said, "It should be stocked in every school and shelved at every library." His incredible story is told in a very beautiful and unforgettable way that really shows that stories matter. Narrative matters. It was Representative Lewis himself who said, "We may not have chosen the time, but the time has chosen us." And I can't think of a moment when those words are more apt. So it's my honor to welcome Congressman John Lewis, his March co-authors Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell, and moderator Craig Simms to the stage. [APPLAUSE AND CHEERING] JOHN LEWIS: Madam President, thank you for those kind words of introduction. Members of the Board of Regents, Provost, members of the student body, faculty members, and let me say to my friend, my brother, and my colleague, Dr. Jim McDermott, thank you for being here, Jim. Good to see you. [APPLAUSE] Congressman Jim McDermott. Now it is great to be at this university. I told the president that I'm the first member of my family to go off to college. [APPLAUSE AND CHEERING] I didn't grow up in a big city like Washington. I grew up in rural Alabama, 50 miles from Montgomery, outside of a little place called Troy. My father was a sharecropper, a tenant farmer. But back in 1944, when I was four years old-- and I do remember when I was four. How many of you remember when you were four? [LAUGHTER] What happened to the rest of us? [LAUGHTER] My father had saved $300 and a man sold him 110 acres of land. We still own this land today. On this farm, we raised a lot of cotton and corn, lots of peanuts, hogs, cows, and chickens. If you come to Washington and visit my congressional office, or in Atlanta and visit my office, the first thing the staff will offer you will be some peanuts, because we raise a lot of peanuts in Georgia like we raise in Alabama. But don't tell the people in Georgia, I don't eat too many of those peanuts. I ate so many peanuts when I was growing up, I just don't want to see no more peanuts. [LAUGHTER] Sometimes I will get on a flight, flying from Atlanta to Washington, or Washington back to Atlanta, and the flight attendant tries to offer me some peanuts. I said, no thank you, I don't care for any peanuts. [LAUGHTER] Now on a farm, you heard me say we raise a lot of chickens. I know here as students, you're smart. You're gifted. But you don't know anything about raising chickens. [LAUGHTER] March, Book One would tell you that as a little boy, growing up on this farm, it was my responsibility to care for the chickens and raise the chickens. Now do any of you know anything about raising chickens? Well, why don't we compare notes then? [LAUGHTER] When the setting hen was set, take the fresh eggs, mark them with a pencil, place them under the setting hen, and wait for three long weeks for the little chicks to hatch. I know some of you are saying, now John Lewis, why did you mark the fresh eggs with a pencil before you placed them under the setting hen? Well, from time to time, another hen would get on that same nest and there would be some more fresh eggs. So when the little chicks would hatch, and before [INAUDIBLE] the setting hens, [INAUDIBLE] on the setting hens, I would take these little chicks and give them to another hen. I'd put them in a box with a lantern and raise them on their own. I was never quite able to save $18.98 to order the most inexpensive incubator, a hatcher the Sears Roebuck store. Now you're students. Mostly you're too young, and your teachers, your president, all your professors are too young to know anything about the Sears Roebuck catalog. [LAUGHTER] It was a big book. It was a heavy book. Thick book. Some people called it the wish book. I wish I had this. I wish I had that. So I just kept on wishing. But as a little boy, about eight or nine years old, I wanted to be a minister. I wanted to preach the gospel. So one of my uncles has [INAUDIBLE] to bring me a Bible. I learned to read the Bible. And I would gather all of my chickens together in the chicken yard, and my brothers and sisters and cousins were lined outside of the chicken yard, and I would start speaking and preaching. And when I looked back on it, some of these chickens would bow their heads. Some of these chickens would shake their heads. [LAUGHTER] They never quite said Amen. But I'm convinced that some of those chickens that I preached to in the '40s and the '50s tended to listen to me much better than some of my colleagues listen to me today in the Congress. [LAUGHTER] [APPLAUSE] And some of those chickens were just a little bit productive. At least they produced eggs. When we visit the little town of Troy, visit Montgomery, visit Tuskegee, visit Birmingham, I saw those signs that said, white men, colored men, white women, colored women, white waiting, colored waiting. I would come home and ask my mother, my father, my grandparents, my great grandparents, why? They would say, that's the way it is. Don't get in the way. Don't get in trouble. I didn't like segregation. I didn't like racial discrimination. I wanted to do something about it. But I didn't know what to do. I heard about Rosa Parks. I heard the words of Martin Luther King Jr. on the old radio. The action of Rosa Parks, the words and leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. inspired me to find a way to get in the way. I met Rosa Parks when I was 17. The next year, at the age of 18, I met Martin Luther King, Jr., and I got involved. I got in trouble. Good trouble. Necessary trouble. [APPLAUSE] Now more than ever before it is time for each and every one of us to get in trouble. Good trouble. Necessary trouble. [APPLAUSE AND CHEERING] March-- March: Book One, Book Two, Book Three is saying, in effect, that when you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have a moral obligation to say something, to do something, to stand up. [APPLAUSE AND CHEERING] As young students, we started the way of peace. We started the philosophy and the discipline of nonviolence. And we started sitting in. We're sitting in at a lunch counter in a restaurant, and someone would come up and spit on us, put lighted cigarettes out in our hair or down our backs. And we were told, over and over again, if we continued to sit in, we would be arrested and taken to jail. No one wanted to be arrested and go to jail, but that was a part of the price we had to pay to change things. When I heard that we may get arrested and go to jail, I wanted to look what students back then called fresh. I wanted to look clean. I wanted to look sharp. But I had very little money. So I went to a used men's store in downtown Nashville and I bought a suit, and a vest came with it. I paid $5 for this suit. If I still had the suit today, I probably could sell it on eBay for a lot of money. [LAUGHTER] But when I was arrested, I felt free. I felt that I'd been liberated. I had crossed over, and I have not looked back since. [APPLAUSE] During the '60s, I was arrested 40 times, and since been in Congress far more times. And I'm probably going to get arrested again for something. [LAUGHTER] Because sometimes, you must find a way to make it plain, to make it clear, to dramatize the issue, help mobilize people to stand up, to speak up, and speak out. Just think a few short years ago-- to be exact, in 1961-- the same year that President Barack Obama was born, black people and white people can be seated together on a Greyhound bus or Trailway bus, leaving Washington, DC to travel through the south. We were beaten along the way, arrested and jailed, but we didn't give up. We kept the faith. We kept our eyes on the prize. And because of our actions, President Kennedy and his brother Robert Kennedy intervened. And by November 1, 1961, those signs that said white waiting, colored waiting, white men, colored men, white women, colored women, those signs came tumbling down. So I say to you as young people and students, stand up. Speak up. Be brave. Be courageous. Be bold. And help create what we call the beloved community. Help redeem the soul of America. As the late A. Philip Randolph, who was the dean of black leadership when we planned the march on Washington would say over and over again, "Maybe our foremothers and our forefathers all came to this great land in different ships, but we're all in the same boat now." So we have to look out for each other and care for each other. We can do it, and we must do it. Dr. King put it another way. "We must learn to live together. If not, we will perish as fools." He told us, over and over again, he told us that "Hate is too heavy a burden to bear." Never hate. Never lose the sense of hope. Never give up. Hold on. Just think. A few short years ago in our country, here in America, people of color could not register to vote simply because of the color of their skin. We had to change that. Some people gave their very lives. The only thing I did on that bridge in Selma, I gave a little blood. We have to change America. And I say to you as young people, as students, we must use the vote, because the vote is precious. It's almost sacred. It is the most powerful nonviolent instrument or tool we have in a democratic society. You must never, ever give up on the right to vote. So on every election, we've got to get out there and vote. And more and more young people, and more and more women must get out there and run for office and get elected, and turn our country around. [APPLAUSE AND CHEERING] So these two young man here, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell, we are like brothers. We are Southerners. We've seen it close up. We want to leave this country a little better off than we found it. We want to leave this piece of real estate we call Earth a little better. We want to continue to carry a message of hope, a message of love, a message of peace. So don't get weary. Don't become bitter or hostile. Do your best, and do it so well that no one else can do it any better. You heard me say, and I'll say it again, I feel more than lucky. I feel very blessed that I got to know Martin Luther King, Jr. When he was assassinated, I cried. I mourned. But I didn't give up. We must not cry now. We can mourn. We can pray. But we've got to put on our marching shoes. It was so beautiful, so beautiful just a few weeks ago to see hundreds and thousands and millions of women joined by men, by little children, marching. There's nothing more powerful than the marching feet of a determined people. [APPLAUSE] So I must said before Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell come up and speak for a moment, look. I know some of us feel down, but don't be down. When you get knocked down, get up, and continue to pick them up and put them down. Continue to play a role and play it so well that no one else can play it better. [APPLAUSE] Use your education. Look, we didn't have a website. We hadn't heard of the internet. [LAUGHTER] We didn't have a fax machine. We had an old mimeograph machine. But we brought about a nonviolent revolution, a revolution of values, a revolution of ideas. The signs that I saw when I was growing up in rural Alabama, those signs are gone, and they will not return. The only place that we will see those signs today will be in a book, on a video, or in a museum. But we are not there yet. There are forces in our own country that want to take us back. We've come too far. We've made too much progress to go back. We want to go forward and redeem the soul of America, and save this little planet we called Earth. [APPLAUSE AND CHEERING] I almost-- yes, I almost died on that bridge, attempting to walk from Selma to Montgomery, to dramatize to the nation the need for the Voting Rights Act. It is my hope, it's my prayers that in the days, weeks and months and years to come that none of you will be beaten or jailed. But if that's the price we must pay to save the planet, to leave this little piece of real estate we call the Earth a little greener, a little cleaner, and a little more peaceful, then we must be willing to pay that price. So go out there, and do what you must do. Thank you very much. [APPLAUSE] ANDREW AYDIN: How do you follow that? [LAUGHTER] Three and a half years. Never gotten easier. [LAUGHTER] My name is Andrew Aydin. I serve as the congressman's digital director and policy advisor in Washington. That means I tweet for a living. [LAUGHTER] I'm the co-author of March. And it's an honor to be with you guys. It's funny. I think back a lot about my time in college, and what sort of impact it had on March, because I was into all sorts of weird, strange things that people didn't quite understand. First, I was a student government nerd. I was vice president my sophomore year. [WHOOP] Yeah, right? [LAUGHTER] Who's laughing now? [LAUGHTER] And the other thing I did was I felt it was really important that we had-- I went to a small liberal arts college in Connecticut, which is the coldest place on Earth. And we didn't have a TV station, right? This is being recorded for UWTV, right? We didn't have one of those. And I got it in my head that I was going to start one. I had enough votes on the budget committee to make permanent the funding for it, and I got a bunch of friends together. We really wanted to do it. And we really wanted to do it because we thought we could get press passes to the first New York Comic Con. [LAUGHTER] We did all of that. And looking back, starting something from nothing while I was in school, something that would help bring people to something else that I loved, which was comics, it was one of those formative experiences that I can only now fully give weight to, because I know that if I hadn't done those things, if I hadn't experimented with student government, if I hadn't found my love for legislatures, if I hadn't tried to make something from nothing like [? Trend ?] TV was, I never would have been able to even attempt March. So I want you to remember that right now, because the skills, the experiences, what you're doing in school, you are so free. You have no idea how free you are. And you need to use that. You need to use it to learn, to grow, to sharpen your social consciousness. You need to use this time to build the skills so that you too can make something from nothing. Now where did this start? Where did March start? It was 2008. It was the summer of hope and change. Barack Obama was sweeping through the Democratic primaries. And I'd taken leave from the congressional office to go work on the congressman's reelection campaign as his press secretary. Campaigns are a tough spot. Even John Lewis, who I think that year had two opponents, who he was absolutely crushing-- nonviolently-- [LAUGHTER] He didn't let up. So it was 50, 60-hour work weeks, all throughout Atlanta. Churches, schools. And it was coming down to the end of the campaign when we started talking about what we were going to do afterwards, right? So we see the light at the end of the tunnel. Some folks said they were going to go to the beach. Some folks said they were going to go see their parents. And I said I was going to a comic book convention. [LAUGHTER] And everybody laughed at me, good and proper. Yeah, point and laugh at the nerd. And I heard a deep voice, and it said, don't laugh. There was a comic book during the civil rights movement, and it was very influential. And it was John Lewis standing up for me, as he stood up for so many of us. And he's telling me about this comic book called Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story. And I was a kid. I was 24. Not much older than you guys are now. And I just became captivated by this idea of a comic book playing a meaningful role in the civil rights movement. So I went home that night, and I looked it up on the internet. I read it. It was beautiful. 16 pages, cover to cover. Talked about Gandhi and Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks, and introduced people to nonviolence. It was done in this beautiful 1950s house studio style. And I just remember sitting there thinking, you know, there should be one of these about John Lewis. And so I went to work the next day. I went back to the campaign, and we kept asking these fundamental questions that many people were asking that summer. How do you reach young people? How do you teach activism? How do you teach the history of the civil rights movement? And when those questions came up, I was young enough not to know any better, and so I raised my hand and I said, excuse me. I think you should write a comic book. And he was so nice. He said, oh, well, maybe. [LAUGHTER] Which I know, some of y'all in politics, you know that means no. [LAUGHTER] But I couldn't give up on this idea. I felt it in here. I had spent the whole summer listening to John Lewis tell these stories of SNCC to young people, and watching their eyes open to a world that they had not been taught. Congressman's been my congressman since I was three years old. I'd never heard these stories. And so to me, it just seemed like this was something that really had to be done. And so I kept asking. We'd raise the question again. How do we teach-- how do we reach young people? Everybody coming up with these ideas. Well, we could get on this thing called Facebook. I'm like, we're already on there. It's not the whole answer. And so I kept asking, and I kept asking, until finally one day, the congressman said, OK. I'll do it. But only if you write it with me. And that moment changed my life. Now it was five years from that day to actually publishing the first book. Publisher said, no. My colleagues? Well, let's just say they weren't supportive. But every night, every weekend, I would go home, I'd call the congressman on the phone, and I'd ask him to tell me a story. Congressman, tell me about the freedom rides. Congressman, tell me about Nashville. What do you remember about Ben West? What do you remember about Jim Lawson? What do you remember about Diane Nash? Sometimes he'd fall asleep on the phone. [LAUGHTER] Sometimes I'd fall asleep on the phone. [LAUGHTER] But we just kept plugging away. The world kept going around us, and we just kept working. Which I guess is probably John Lewis' motto in the most simplest terms. You just keep working. So we found a publisher. Then we found an artist, Nate Powell. Poor Nate had no idea what he was in for. [LAUGHTER] And we got to work. Now March came out, and it debuted at number one on The New York Times. But the moment that was most meaningful to me was I got a phone call from a reporter at the Wall Street Journal, of all places. And he said, you know, I don't usually do this, but I got a copy of your book. I really loved it. And so I gave it to my nine-year-old son. And he read it, and he went, and he put on his Sunday suit, and now he's marching around my house, demanding equality for everyone. [LAUGHTER] [APPLAUSE] Imagine what we could do if we taught everyone, we showed everyone. Give it time. Now I mentioned that I tweet for the congressman. I'm the digital director. And one of the things I often think about is, what would Dr. King have tweeted? [LAUGHTER] What would Gandhi have posted? [LAUGHTER] Y'all laugh. This is serious business. [LAUGHTER] And it puts it in context what the congressman is doing now in a way that I couldn't imagine in any other context. And what I wanted-- when you read March, what I want you to do is I want you to think about the tools and the tactics, the fundamental principles, and then think about how you could apply those to the technology we have today. This generation has the capacity to organize on a scale that the globe has never seen. [APPLAUSE] But-- [APPLAUSE] But we have also turned into a bit of a generation of armchair activists, and we can't let it be that. We have to use these tools, we have to use this technology to show up. The principles are fundamental. And if you learn them through examples like what they did during the civil rights movement, and in particular, what the young people did-- because that is one of the great untold stories of the movement. More often than not, you will hear the story of gods and kings. LBJ versus Martin Luther King. But the story of John Lewis, of Bernard Lafayette, of CT Vivian, of Diane Nash, of James Bevel, Ella Baker, these people, they did the heavy lifting. They got in the streets. They went to Mississippi. They put their lives on the line. And you have to understand their stories so that you can understand what's happening today. Now for me, you wonder, why would this become my mission? My father was a Muslim immigrant. Yeah. It's not an easy time right now. But if I'm totally honest, my father left my mother when I was very young. I never knew him. I was raised by a single mom. And if you believe that it's a fair and equal system for a single mom, well, I've got a deed for a planet to sell you. [LAUGHTER] But it shaped my social consciousness. And most recently, you know, when I was a kid, my mother, she was very afraid of me being Muslim, of looking Muslim. I was raised about as Christian as it gets, right? Methodist school, went to a private religious school. I went to Trinity College. Then I went to Georgetown, so the Jesuits indoctrinated me. [LAUGHTER] You know, I ran the gamut. So my mother would always tease me, nonviolently, I guess, that I had to shave. She never wanted me to have facial hair. But about a year and some change ago, one of the presidential candidates started talking about banning Muslims from coming into this country. And to me, it's a heck of a thing when somebody says you shouldn't exist. So I had my little protest against my mom, and I grew my beard out. She was so mad. [LAUGHTER] I started talking about it at Comic Con this summer, and they wrote a news article about it. And there was this young girl. She's a Somali Muslim. And I was trying to tell her, like, those of us who have privilege-- I mean, and I have a lot of privilege. I am a six foot 3" whitish male. Like, I got a lot of privilege, you know? We're trying to do what we can. Because one of the principles that I think is forgotten most in nonviolence is that we have to educate and sensitize people. Part of the reason there's so much fear about Muslim immigrants or Latino immigrants or whoever everybody's afraid of this week, it's because they don't know them. I work on Capitol Hill. There's, like, seven Muslim immigrants or children of Muslim immigrants on the whole Hill. So where are they going to meet these people? And when you see them portrayed in the media as terrorists all the time, like, of course, they're going to be afraid. That's what they're told to be afraid of. So I kept my beard. The congressman was supportive-- [LAUGHTER] --so that I can tell people, like, yeah, this is where I'm from. This is who I am. And those same people who would come to me and say, you know, I think you need to help me with a Ronald Reagan graphic novel-- [LAUGHTER] --yeah, that got cut. [LAUGHTER] Those same people were real shocked to find out that my father was off the boat. But that's what we have. We have our stories. We have what makes us human and unique, but also the same. And that's why we have to share who we are with each other. We have to tell great stories. We have to use our talents. We have to use our skills. We have to use our abilities. Whatever it is that you are passionate about. I grew up loving comics. And the treatment of my mother and the way I saw it is what drove me into politics, because I didn't think it was fair. So I put those two things together, and you get March. So what are you going to do? I'm, like, 12 years older than you guys. You don't have much time. [LAUGHTER] Maybe when we started this, we felt like there wasn't such an urgency. But as you see us crisscross this country, we know there is an urgency. We have to organize. We have to get disciplined. We have to be nonviolent. We have to get in the way. When I was a kid and I was in high school, I would bring my comics with me to class. And one day, I had them out on my desk. And my English teacher came and she took them away. She said, you can't have those out right now. Those aren't real books. Well, I got to go back to my high school-- [LAUGHTER] --with Congressman Lewis-- [LAUGHTER] --and I got to have a wonderful conversation with that teacher-- [LAUGHTER] --about her experiences teaching our graphic novels. [LAUGHTER] [APPLAUSE AND CHEERING] Let me be clear. I don't see that as any form comeuppance to the teacher. She was expressing the prevailing wisdom of the time. And I believe she's doing the Lord's work by being a teacher. But it says something about the power of an idea whose time has come, and the brief period in which change is possible. So to all of you, I ask you, what will you change? That was 15 years ago for me. It's time for you all to get to work. Join us. March. Thank you. [APPLAUSE AND CHEERING] NATE POWELL: Hey, everybody. How's it going? [LAUGHTER] Hey. I'm Nate. I'm the artist. Pardon my notes. All right, y'all. I'm from Arkansas-- well, thanks for having us, by the way. Let me get that out of the way. [APPLAUSE] So I'm from Little Rock, Arkansas. And I spent a lot of my childhood in Montgomery, Alabama. My family, going back a couple hundred years, all from kind of northern Mississippi. I was born in the late '70s. So in the early and mid '80s, I did have the privilege of developing just a very basic working knowledge of the civil rights movement, thanks to my parents imparting history and personal and family anecdotes, of growing up in their time and place at the end of what is perceived-- at the end of the Jim Crow South in Mississippi. And I mean, very basic. Key figures, key moments. For one, their stories, their anecdotes were invariably kind of punctuated by this exception. Like, oh, but that was a different time. That was a different time. These aren't the droids you're looking for. [LAUGHTER] And you know, I might have been six or eight years old, but at that-- you know, I didn't have a word for it, but I think these were some of the earliest instances of having a sense of cognitive dissonance, where I had these two divergent, kind of polarized thoughts about the information I was receiving. Particularly with their emphasis that these tales were a different time. Especially growing up in Montgomery, Alabama and hearing these stories and seeing this grainy black-and-white news footage, and grainy photography of incidents of resistance and heroism happening on the streets of Montgomery, three miles from my house where I was actually hearing the stories. And as I've grown older, realizing that my parents were telling me accounts of things that were happening just 10 years before I was born. Just 15 years before I was born. I'm 38 now, you know? I can reach out and touch 15 years. It's nothing. So with this grainy black-and-white footage and photography, in a lot of ways, I think around 1970, that's where most news outlets and most TV broadcasts finally shifted to color. Prior to that point, there is a little bit of this feeling of unreality, this disconnected sense of continuity when looking back and watching this black-and-white footage of the era. I can understand that it's of the same world, that we're a part of the same continuum. And yet, my brain won't go there all the way. So once the time came to get to work on the March trilogy, on a personal level, one of the most important things to me was to use my skill set to destroy that sense of abstraction, to emphasize, A, that this is a continuum in the same world that we occupy. These are people who could have been or were our neighbors, our family, who could have been us. It was also important, the older I get, to recognize that John Lewis' story is the story of he and many, many of his peers being young people at the center of the movement. And we're talking about people getting involved as 17-year-olds, people moving the needle on the social barometer in their early 20s. And I never really had a sense of that growing up. The Southern Poverty Law Center has a term called the nine word problem, which is that most kids graduate from high school in the US, knowing nine words about the movement. Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, I have a dream. I didn't even learn about the movement in high school in Arkansas. Like, we never even got there. I think we got to about the 1910s. And I imagine that a lot of American kids are the same way. I think that losing the tenuous nature of feeling a real sense of continuity of recognizing that this is the same world that we're occupying, that sense of continuity can be very easily displaced or forgotten. And it's a cliche to say, like, history is a living thing. But it actually is. [LAUGHTER] And I feel like a lot of cliches that we've carried for much of our lives are just resonating as not being cliches anymore. Like, the time for dismissing something for being universal is over. Another thing I wanted to emphasize, which is kind of unavoidable now, we can see it all around us-- welcome to 2017-- are that the gains of the civil rights movement, the legal and civil protections and, in a broader sense, the social progress which followed as a result, these are not shifts which are guaranteed. They require constant diligence. And as Congressman Lewis has said many times, ours is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year. It is the struggle of a lifetime. And I think more and more of us are realizing just how true that is. All right, y'all. Well, I've been making comics for 27 years and publishing them for 25 years. I started out of my backpack as a ninth grader. [LAUGHTER] And I'm very proud that March can play some small part in kind of further cementing the legitimacy of comics as a medium, as a means of storytelling, whether it's for memoir, for history, just for fiction, for entertainment. And we've arrived at a point hopefully where it's not a shocker to be like, oh, comics aren't just about superheroes anymore. But I want to take a minute to stick up for comics, for all comics, especially superhero comics. The potent combination of X-Men and thrash metal basically gave me a social conscience in the late '80s. [LAUGHTER] It's very, very true. [APPLAUSE] There's no way around it. And in a lot of ways, this is the power of good sci-fi, good fantasy narratives, being able to hold up either a lens or a mirror through which to view our world in a different context or a different set of possibilities. And Chris Claremont's run, writing the X-Men for 15 years, activated in my young mind an awareness of the complexities of racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, nationalism in a way that I had never had to consider, in a way that I've had the privilege never to have to confront until I was 11 or 12. So in that sense, you know, March has gone places we never anticipated, and it's fantastic for the medium of comics. It's also important to recognize that a story even of this significance and of this urgency-- I had spent my whole life making comics before March just assuming, like, oh, I just tell the story that I want to tell, and then somebody prints it, and it winds up on a bookshelf. And then just people wind up finding it, and they read it, and absorb it. And this process, as it has grown into a much more massive and deeply involving endeavor with all of us and our collaborators and support folks far beyond our inner circle is that that's just not the case. [INAUDIBLE] any book, any set of information, any work that can be mass-produced really involves the support and the diligence, the dedication of gatekeepers, of librarians, and these teachers, of bookshop owners, of people who are willing to take the way in which a book has moved them and spread that out throughout their world. So if you are a gatekeeper, thank you. Now I understand how books actually get in people's hands. And for many folks, March is the first graphic novel they've ever read, which is, again, amazing to be a part of the gateway drug into comics. [LAUGHTER] And, you know, the movement is a story and a piece of history, which everyone should know. But this is not a case of March working despite being a comic and being a powerful account, despite being a comic. It works because it's a comic. We have devoted ourselves to using the unique strengths of comics as a storytelling medium, as a means of conveying personal and factual information, to harness it and push it to the furthest extent possible in the medium, in a way that is accurate, that's responsible, but it's also intimate and moving whenever possible. So if this is your first graphic novel, thank you very much. But please don't let it end here. Comics have changed my life many times over. And you know, it's very nice to have your foot in the pond. You can go ahead and jump in any time. [LAUGHTER] It's fantastic. So go get some comics. [APPLAUSE] Now the process by which we all worked on March, once I-- I came on board in late 2011. And the rough version of the first script, combining the entire trilogy was done. We divided it up into three books, and March: Book One is really, in a narrative sense, it's more subjective. It is more intimate. It's the account of a young person, coming of age and watching their world expand as their awareness of that world expands and develops. So we were able to do it in a very different way. But Book One is very much the process of our learning how to work together, learning how the tale described in March was going to be told. As the movement expanded far beyond the limitations of small, largely isolated groups of young people, and turned into a massive social shift, particularly in Book Two, it required recognizing where we had to meet that head-on. Whether it was a level of historical accountability, learning new ways of researching, but also accounting for other voices that were far beyond the central focus that we had in the first. And making sure that we were not telling the mythical tale of gods and kings, the convenient tale of the movement. Making sure we were not sweeping people under the rug. Making sure we were lending some voices that had previously always been swept under the rug, and recognizing that this was a tale that swept across the board. Book Two highlights the disproportionate response to relatively modest gains by the sit-in in, stand-in movements, and the responses being in violence and in legislation. And in depicting this physical violence in comics-- and that's something I'm very used to. I've grown up reading comics. We live in a comic-influenced society-- required kind of a reckoning with the things I had taken for granted as a storyteller in terms of how to depict violence. The stakes were very different now. We're talking about an account of actual people, many of whom are still with us today. And so for victims and perpetrators, being mindful of the fact that these human beings involved had and have families, have lives. And whenever possible, kind of confronting the reader by turning the camera, forcing them into a position temporarily where they're perpetrating violence against an activist, and recognizing that there's value in the level of discomfort or even the physical repulsion when you're reading about some of the brutality that was happening towards activists. There is value in recognizing that sense of repulsion. Highlighting this is something that happened, and happens to this day, as we all know very well, because of people who could have been or maybe were your neighbors, your family, who could have been you. In Book Three, we were much more focused, I think, on highlighting disagreement, dissent, and movements in separate directions, though all forward. Particularly within the movement, we wanted to make sure that we emphasized not just the nuance, but the level of disagreement which was occurring on a strategic and tactical level, but on a philosophical level. People had different ideas for the proper solution through activism, through protest, through legislation, through the philosophy and discipline of nonviolence. And arguments can get very personal, very heated. People were leaving meeting rooms together. But we also wanted to highlight that those people who were storming out of meetings together, hurt, angry, confused, sometimes feeling betrayed, were showing up in the streets the next day together. Because despite these very pronounced personal and philosophical disagreements, there was a recognition that they're working together on issues in which we're largely in agreement. And I think that it's more important than ever to emphasize that it's possible to be allies, to be collaborators, to be friends with people while holding significant differences. We also wanted to emphasize that-- I don't know. It was difficult to find a terminal point for the narrative in March. And it's something that, I guess, required a moment of conscious recognition that there isn't an end to this story. This is an account of effort, of progress, of sacrifice. But there isn't a clean victory. And it's a very inconvenient truth for folks who like the nine words version of the movement's history. We wanted to emphasize that the work continues. This is a [INAUDIBLE] tale of setbacks and victories. But there is no end to the story contained within March. March is a roadmap that shows how to move forward, how to work with each other. And using our skill set, we wanted to emphasize, you know, precisely like the youth, but also the dedication and the seriousness by which these young people approached their roles in the movement. Early on, just reading Walking With the Wind, reading Walking With the Wind, I was-- I immediately identified with young John Lewis as a six-year-old on a farm in Alabama. And we grew up a generation apart in very different circumstances, but we also geographically grew up just 40 miles apart from each other on the old Troy Highway. And the gravity and the intensity through which he viewed the world around him, and his keen sense of fairness and injustice was something that hit me very hard. And I have a five-year-old and an almost two-year-old, but I can see it very clearly in my five-year-old, her sense of injustice and fairness is so strong. And I think for all of us as five-year-olds or six-year-olds, that's a very pronounced trait. It's one of the first things that crystallized in my daughter as, like, a three-year-old. And I think that our world kind of whittles away at the edges of that, intentionally, so that we'll be more compliant. So it was important to emphasize that and to show, this is what a thoughtful, committed group of 20-year-olds or 20-somethings were able to do. Not even at 20 years old, but especially at 20 years old. And it made me-- gave me pause to be like, well, what was I doing when I was 20? What did I think I was doing, more importantly? For you, if you're older than that, you know, what were you doing when you were 20? If you're younger than that, the question really is, what will you be doing when you are 20? And the good news is, you get to determine that. But this is not a drill, and it never was. Thanks, y'all. [APPLAUSE] CRAIG SIMMS: Good morning. My name is Craig Simms, and I'm a lawyer with law firm of Bergman Draper Ladenburg, and we were absolutely honored to be able to be one of the sponsors for this amazing event this morning. So my job-- thank you. [APPLAUSE] So my job in the next 15 minutes is to moderate a brief conversation with you, the audience, with our panelists here. And so what I'd ask is if there are some folks that have questions, if you could please stand to the microphone here and cue yourself up, and I will call on you accordingly. Now we have about 15 minutes. We're on a very tight time schedule. And let me manage your expectations. [LAUGHTER] If last night, you stayed up all night writing a speech-- [LAUGHTER] --I see you right here. First person, you look like you've got a speech in your pocket. [LAUGHTER] If you have a speech, we will gladly accept your written speech to be read at a later time. But what we'd ask now is that you please ask a very direct question to one or all of the panelists in order to keep this process moving. So we'll start with the student here. AUDIENCE: Thank you all so much for being here, especially Representative Lewis for your commitment to civil rights in your lifetime. [APPLAUSE] My question-- my question is about getting in the way and fear when I think fear is justified, Specifically I think with Muslim and immigrant communities where this administration is specifically, from the outset, targeting them, and there is this fear of separation from their families. And I want to know how people who are not directly impacted can get in the way of that and try to bring forth some sort of comfort to those communities. [APPLAUSE] Well, when one of us, when any one of us sees something happen to another member of the human family, we must identify. So you come to that point like they did in Montgomery during the bus boycott. Or during the sit-ins. You never can jail us all. You jail one of us, you come down on one of us, you're coming down on all of us. We all are members of the human family, and what affects one of us affects all of us. [APPLAUSE] That's why so many of us all over America went out to the airports by the hundreds and by the thousands. The Atlanta airport is the largest commercial airport in the world. The people that showed up because of what was happening, it was so diverse. They were black and white, Latino, Asian American, Native American, Muslim, Christians, Jews. We were all there together, standing up for our brothers and sisters. [APPLAUSE] CRAIG SIMMS: We're now turning to this side. AUDIENCE: Hi, my name is [? Miola, ?] and I'm a senior undergraduate here at the UW. And my question is about-- there was a moment in SNCC history where the white students were asked to leave the organization and go and organize in their own communities. And I think today there's a lot of mistrust of mainly white people that make it hard to work together and organize sustainably, despite being in the same boat as you talked about. So can you talk a little bit about effective coalition building for sustainable organization, and then what those genuine allies should look like? [APPLAUSE] JOHN LEWIS: Andrew, you did a lot of research, [INAUDIBLE]. Andrew did a lot of research, I suggested to him. Let me just [? say this. ?] SNCC, my old organization, during the time that I was the chair of the organization, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, we had many, many victories. But we also went through a period that we call freedom high, when everybody got high on freedom. Who told me [INAUDIBLE] that, who gave you the authority to do that? And people would go in a different direction. But when people made a decision to go, I was against that decision to separate people. Saying to whites, you go and work in a white community. And those of us that happen to be African American will work in an African American community. We don't want to be a separate society. We want to build an integrated, a truly multiracial society. That's the only way we're going to survive on this little piece of real estate at we call Earth. OK? [APPLAUSE] CRAIG SIMMS: On this side of the room. AUDIENCE: Hello. My name is Nina Bo, and I'm with the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance. As Andrew said, people need to know stories and to know people to change their minds. And for this, I commend Nate and all such artists who make these stories come to life and reach people. My question is actually a little bit more focused not on inspiring people to action, but the nature of that action. I'd love to hear from either Congressman Lewis with his beliefs and actions in life or from Nate or Andrew about how these stories have impacted themselves. But looking at nonviolence in particular, especially through the lens of an era where now violence seems to be normalized and inevitable, especially if you look at political movements in action today. Thank you. CRAIG SIMMS: And you thought these were going to be easy questions. [LAUGHTER] JOHN LEWIS: Well, Andrew should speak, but I'll tell you this. It is nonviolence or nonexistence. That's the choice. And right now, I think what has happened in America today, right this-- right now is not just a threat to America, but a threat to the planet. It's nonviolence or nonexistence. If we want to survive and live as humans, that's why we must teach the way of peace, the way of love. Teach the philosophy and the discipline of nonviolence. Can humans co-exist? All human beings? ANDREW AYDIN: If I could-- JOHN LEWIS: These two guys probably going to disagree with me. ANDREW AYDIN: No, not at all. I think, though, that you're omitting a key part, which is the idea of dramatizing the conflict. Congressman [? will tell ?] us about Daddy King, who used to say-- let me get this right. Tell me-- JOHN LEWIS: Martin Luther King's father would say from time to time, while his son, Martin Luther King, Jr. would be preaching in the pulpit, Daddy King would say something like, make it plain, son. Make it real. Make it clear. We have to find ways to make it plain, to make it clear. ANDREW AYDIN: Right. Because if we're going to appeal to the emotional core of a broad coalition of human beings, we have to be able to explain in very succinct terms why we have the moral high ground, why we're right, why people should agree with us, why people should support us. We think of Selma moments, right? Like, why did Selma reach into the heart of America and change things so quickly? Because it shocked the conscience. I think in most of the country, they were airing a broadcast of the Nuremberg movie when they interrupted it with footage of John Lewis being beaten. And it shocked people. And in this era of violence on demand, you go on the internet and footage, video, all of it is rampant. I mean, you see it all over the place. So you have to ask yourself, like, how do we dramatize this conflict today to clearly explain to a broad base of people what it is we want and why we need it? And that's the challenge, all right? I mean, that's the ballgame. And if we're going to succeed at it, we all have to become storytellers. We have to create situations where the conflict itself explains what we're trying to accomplish. And so the modern era of nonviolence is not going to be about a raggedy march. It is going to be about a clever, well-executed, orderly, well-disciplined, direct action. And it'll be about creating the climate and the environment to get us to that moment. And so there is an incredible amount of strategic forethought that must exist in these protests and in these direct actions. And that's why we've spent so much time explaining so many different stories, so that you have models to follow of them doing just this thing. JOHN LEWIS: I think Nate wanted to-- NATE POWELL: Well, I was just going to add that particularly, growing up as a younger adult through underground punk and becoming involved in activism through punk, there was certainly a thread which emphasized-- which discouraged talking to the press, being involved with traditional media outlets. And granted, this was, like, you know, this is the mid-90s and the mid 2000s, and a little bit different of a climate, a different relationship to media. Media itself was a different thing. But one of the most transformative aspects and one of the most illuminating things working on March was recognizing that the movement simply would not have succeeded as it did without combining the-- making sure boots are on the ground, making sure people are showing up and working in an organized, disciplined way. But also, always making sure that the press knew that you were going to be here at this time, at this place, for this reason. And knowing what people in a broader sense could expect from your presence, knowing what you perhaps anticipated and what your goals were. And it is only by their being camera people and reporters at these locations that these events ever were dramatized to the point where they were forced into people's-- you know, like, middle class, white people's living rooms across America that actually got people buzzing and concerned and worried. So it upended my traditional relationship with speaking to the media in terms of action, and made me recognize that that's something that required serious questioning in a long-term sense. It is, in fact, the relationship of activist movements to the media which ensured that the situation could even be dramatized at all. CRAIG SIMMS: Thank you. NATE POWELL: [INAUDIBLE]. [APPLAUSE] CRAIG SIMMS: So with apologies to those who are remaining queued up in line, we have time for just one more question. And with that, I'm going to yield to my friend here on my right. AUDIENCE: Thank you so much. My name is Maria Abando. I'm a senior here, and officer in the Black Student Union. And my question is about tactics. So one of the problems that we have here in the Pacific Northwest is this kind of illusion that we're so progressive that racism doesn't exist here anymore, right? [APPLAUSE] We face that a lot. And while those overt acts of racism are much more rare, the invisible and ideological barriers still exist that aren't acknowledged. So what are your most successful strategies and tactics to approaching people that deny or reject those prejudices, or that racism doesn't exist? ANDREW AYDIN: I'm going to Chicago on Monday, and I'm being protested. The far right is calling it-- what did they say? They put an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal calling it a racial indoctrination seminar. [LAUGHTER] [WHOOP] Right? Because they're teaching March, and because I'm going to go speak to the kids about March. And so for us, what we can do is we can go places, we can talk to people, we can tell the stories, and we can put John Lewis' story in front of as many people as possible. Because over and over and over again, I've watched John Lewis go into places where people used to hate him and turned to love him. And that example of being an immutable principle of love, the physical embodiment of that. JOHN LEWIS: I can give you one example, the Freedom Ride. ANDREW AYDIN: Yeah. JOHN LEWIS: In May of 1961, in May of 1961, my seatmate on a Greyhound bus was a young white gentleman. We arrived together in Rock Hill, South Carolina, about 30 miles from Charlotte, North Carolina. And members of the Klan attacked us and left us lying in a pool of blood when we tried to enter a so-called white waiting room. Now this is May 1961. In February [? of ?] '13, one of the guys that beat us, member of the Klan in his 70s, came to my office in Washington with his son-- his son was in his 40s-- and he said, Mr. Lewis, I'm one of the people that beat you and your seatmate. I want to apologize. Will you forgive me? Will you accept my apology? This man's son started crying. He started crying. They hugged me. I hugged them back. And I saw the gentleman four other times. He had what I call an executive session with himself. Or maybe some force, maybe history struck-- just got him down. But he got over it. And I've seen people who say, I was on the wrong side, but now on the right side. So people have the possibility to change, to grow. That's why we never give up on anyone. Keep working with them. Keep talking. And we can change people. [APPLAUSE] RICKEY HALL: We have reached the end of our program. Please join me in thanking the vocalist, pianist, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell, Craig Simms, and of course, Congressman Lewis, John Lewis. [APPLAUSE AND CHEERING] [MUSIC PLAYING]

Sources

  1. ^ 1886 : James E. Campbell 15,303, Little 15301
    Smith, Joseph P, ed. (1898). History of the Republican Party in Ohio. I. Chicago: the Lewis Publishing Company. p. 527.
  2. ^ Broadstone, M. A., ed. (1918). History of Greene County, Ohio: its people, industries and ... 1. Indianapolis: B F Bowen and Co. pp. 760–761.
  3. ^ Crabb, W Darwin (1872). Biographical sketches of the state officers, and of the members of the 60th General Assembly of the State of Ohio. Columbus: Ohio State Journal. p. 79.

 This article incorporates public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress website http://bioguide.congress.gov.

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
J. Warren Keifer
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Ohio's 8th congressional district

1885-1887
Succeeded by
Robert P. Kennedy
This page was last edited on 20 May 2019, at 07:20
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