Explores the Civil Rights Movement with Congressman John Lewis | Pierce County READS

Congressman Lewis of Georgia is one of the key figures of the Civil Rights Movement and the only remaining speaker alive from the Big Six Leaders that organized the 1963 March on Washington.

The powerful words and images of the Civil Rights Movement continue to inspire people of all ages. Pierce County Library System revisits the events and emotions of the Civil Rights Movement this spring with its community program, Pierce County READS. From March 11 through May 11, thousands of people will come together as a community to read this year’s Pierce County READS selection, award-winning graphic novel trilogy “March” co-authored by Congressman John Lewis and Andrew Aydin and illustrated by Nate Powell.

Congressman Lewis of Georgia is one of the key figures of the Civil Rights Movement and the only remaining speaker alive from the Big Six Leaders that organized the 1963 March on Washington. To share his remarkable story, Lewis joined Aydin and Powell to use a graphic novel format to educate and inspire a new generation.

“The “March” series is a catalyst for discussions about diversity, society and engagement in one’s community, in ways that are both historical and directly relevant to today’s world,” said Pierce County Library’s Executive Director Georgia Lomax. “This remarkable story is guaranteed to inspire rich discussion throughout our community.”

Pierce County READS kicks off with a closer look at the Civil Rights Movement locally through an exhibit and screening of the documentary “Transforming Tacoma: The Struggle for Civil Rights” Thursday, March 15 at 6 p.m. at Washington State History Museum, 1911 Pacific Ave, Tacoma. A panel discussion will follow the screening and includes former Tacoma Mayor Harold Moss, Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards and documentary filmmaker Sid Lee.

The two-month program will also feature:

  • The Unspoken Truths: American History Traveling Museum — Saturday, March 24, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., at South Hill Pierce County Library 15420 Meridian E., Puyallup. View exhibits from African American history and hear storytelling at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
  • A conversation with Ijeoma Oluo, New York Times best-selling author of “So you want to talk about race?” — Saturday, March 31 at 1 p.m. at Lakewood Playhouse, 729 Lakewood Towne Center Blvd. S.W., Lakewood.

Join the author and explore the struggles of talking about racial topics.

Learn from the inspiring experiences of local residents who were key in the Civil Rights Movement in Pierce County. Speakers include Harold Moss, Tacoma’s first African American mayor; Jim Walton, Tacoma’s first African American city manager; Lyle Quasim, the first African American Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) head; Rosa Franklin, the first African American woman elected to the Washington State Senate and others.

During the Pierce County READS program residents may also participate in book discussions, film screenings and graphic novel workshops.

Celebrate the culmination of the program with an evening with Aydin and Powell Friday, May 11, at 7 p.m., at Pacific Lutheran University’s Olson Auditorium, 124th St S, Tacoma. Attendees can meet the creative team and have books signed following the presentation. A video message from Lewis may also be included.

Pierce County READS has encouraged residents to read copies of the same book at the same time for a countywide conversation for 11 years. The community one-book program is the largest community reading event in Washington State

All events are free thanks to the generous support of KeyBank Foundation and the Pierce County Library Foundation.

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