I See the Promised Land: A Life of Martin Luther King, Jr.
by Arthur Flowers
Illustrated by Manu Chitrakar
Published by Groundwood, 2013
Age 15 and older
A singular graphic novel about Martin Luther King, Jr., in the Civil Rights movement is told in the voice of fictional griot Rickydoc Trickmaster. “I am a Hoodoo Lord of the Delta and power is what I do.” This vibrant, destiny-driven perspective on King is both honest and opinionated--it emphasizes his gift of words and his power to call the people together, to tie the civil rights movement to the larger claim for human dignity. “At the mass meetings he kept the good colored folk of Montgomery fired up … Told them we won’t stop until we’ve won our full freedom in this country and redeemed the soul of America. Note that move now; that redeem the soul of America bit. That little bit of ideological orchestration. This what make Martin Luther King special. He saying this not just about us. This about saving everybody … Equating the Black struggle with the struggle for human dignity. This is where he find his fa.” Author Arthur Flowers offers a distilled and powerful view on society up to and including that time of tension between resistance and submission, of the real and realistic fears of death among those who stood up for their dignity, of the rampant racism in north and south that manifested in different ways. Sophisticated and electrifying, the narrative is set against the vibrant art of Indian Patua artist Manu Chitrakar, and grew out of a workshop in which Patua artists were invited to apply their traditional visual storytelling style to new tales (hence the Bengali-inspired garb on King and everyone else). A “Conversations Across Cultures” essay at book’s end describes how the two elements--words and visual narrative--were created and brought together. Editorial Notes” provide more information on people and events referenced in the narrative. (MS) ©2013 Cooperative Children’s Book Center