Monday, July 10, 2017

A Review of 'Still I Rise: A Graphic History of African Americans' by Roland Laird with Taneshia Nash Laird

Image result for still i rise graphic novel"Still I Rise is a critically acclaimed work with an impressive scope: the entire history of Black America told in an accessible graphic-novel form.  Updated from its original version-- which ended with the Million Man March-- it now extends from the early days of colonial slavery right through to Barack Obama's groundbreaking presidential campaign.  Compared by many to Art Spiegelman's Maus, Still I Rise is a breathtaking achievement that celebrates the collective African-American memory, imagination, and spirit."

I finished this book on the plane ride from New York to Minneapolis.  This is one that I meant to read last summer prior to beginning my student teaching, but I didn't get the chance to.  I'm glad I got to read it now.

I've never read a history book that comes in the form of a graphic novel, but I thought this was a really effective way to present this history that too often goes ignored (in the classroom and out in the world).  It's visual, so it's accessible to high-level readers and low-level readers alike.  It's also written in a way where you don't have to be familiar with any part of this history in order to understand or connect the dots with your current knowledge.  That's why this book was written: to educate those who aren't aware or don't fully understand.

For me, it was fascinating to recall what I knew about different parts of history that I learned in school and then compare that knowledge side by side with what was going on with African Americans.  I was surprised by what I hadn't been taught in school.  Social Studies teachers, please take note and be the change many people would like to see in the school system.

This is such a worthy read and an important one for everyone whether you're in school and are looking to supplement what you're learning in class or if you're out of school and want to know more.

I give 'Still I Rise':
Thanks for Reading!


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