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The Silence of Our Friends : The Civil Rights Struggle Was Never Black and White Paperback – January 17, 2012
Set in Houston in 1968, this graphic novel is based on Long’s childhood memories of the events surrounding a little-remembered incident from the civil rights movement. As the students of Texas Southern University gear up for a demonstration involving Stokely Carmichael’s Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, smaller satellite confrontations around town hint at the violence to come. The story unfolds from two sets of eyes, those of a white TV reporter (Long’s father) and a black demonstration leader. Deciding that “men of conscience have got to join together,” the two forge a friendship that crosses the color line, is not looked upon favorably by either of their communities, and gets tested when the demonstration turns ugly. Powell is one of the finest young cartoonists around, and his artwork—with full-bodied figures, a loose compositional style, and inky black-and-white tones—unflinchingly mines the drama of both petty slashes of racism and larger instances of civil unrest. All the more powerful for its unfortunate familiarity, this account also shows how small acts of humanity can outclass even the most determined hatred. --Ian Chipman
"[This] civil rights graphic novel already seems to have 'Eisner nomination' written down the side." - Bleeding Cool
"You can't help but feel moved by this story and you can't walk away unchanged. The combination of story and art works perfectly in capturing this event and this time period. I'm predicting this book will be one of the best graphic novels of the year, perhaps even one of the best books of the year." - Musings of a Librarian
"...absolutely engaging and a complex graphic novel that I think could be analyzed on a deeper level and has broader historical themes. It is fantastic from beginning to the very end with the author's note and will hopefully affect you as much as it did me." - Good Books and Good Wine
"...an engrossing narrative about race in America, while honestly dealing with a host of other real-world issues, including familial relationships, friendship, dependency, "other"-ness, and perhaps most importantly, the search for common ground." - Publisher's Weekly
A moving evocation of a tipping point in our country's regrettable history of race relations, Long and Demonakos's story flows perfectly in Eisner and Ignatz Award winner Powell's (Swallow Me Whole) graceful and vivid yet unpretty black-and-gray wash.. - Library Journal
Top customer reviews
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I became a resident of Texas some years ago after living much of my life in the Northeast part of the country. This graphic novel is educational and it's entertaining because of the serious and accurate portrayals of society, peer pressure, parental responsibility, and genuine efforts to bridge gaps between people of different ethnicities.
A few things to note about the book: 1 - The overall quality and ending is serious and solemn, but it offers real hope and a resolution that is very satisfying. 2 - The book contains the use of the n-word and some profanity. 3 - The storytelling techniques and the references to Vietnam and the civil rights movement actually make this a story with some layers. It sounds like some reviewers were a little thrown by the subtleties of the story and how it's conveyed in both the words and images. 4 - Also, the size of the paperback is not tiny, but it is of a size that results in a book of artwork that is somewhat compact in terms of individual panels and images. It requires you to occasionally slow down and look closely at the art to understand the details.
I really enjoyed this book, and I hope that many more people who are interested in civil rights, American history, and solid graphic storytelling will discover, read, and share this book. One last thing -- the primary author includes a very nice reflection in prose at the end of the main story. He provides some background on the real events in his life that inspired the story. Great job, Mr. Long, Mr. Powell, and Mr. Demonakos!
Most recent customer reviews
I loved the artwork in this graphic novel, detailed and realistically drawn illustrations embrace each page.Read more