Martin Luther King Day is an opportunity to celebrate and commemorate a man who helped to change America. The work of Dr. King ignited a change in race relations not just within the United States, but also throughout the world. By empowering black Americans and inspiring positive change, Dr. King has become one of the most important figures in modern history.
We are celebrating today by reading I See the Promised Land by Arthur Flowers and Manu Chitrakar; a beautiful biography of Martin Luther King, Jr., accompanied by powerful illustrations.
African American writer, griot and blues singer Arthur Flowers and Indian scroll painter Manu Chitrakar combine their very distinctive storytelling traditions in an extraordinary jam session, creating this stunning graphic narrative-style biography of Martin Luther King Jr.
The engaging text describes the apartheid South in Martin Luther King’s time, which in many ways was not very different from the early days of slavery. Included are descriptions of the Montgomery Bus Boycott; the formation of civil rights groups; mass movements against segregation, such as the Albany Movement and the Children’s Crusade in Birmingham, after which King became black America’s acknowledged leader; and the influence on King of Gandhi, with his nonviolent approach to resistance. We are told about King’s personal struggles as well as the political challenges he faced with the rise of Malcolm X and Black Power. Flowers’ text concludes with a brief look at his legacy.
Arthur Flowers tells a masterful story in musical prose, based on griot oral storytelling traditions, bringing his own perspective to the events he describes, while Manu Chitrakar carries the tale into the vivid idiom of Patua art, turning King’s historic journey into a truly universal legacy.