Silence of Our Friends

"The Silence of Our Friends" by Mark Long, Jim Demonakos, and Nate Powell is a graphic novel that takes place in Houston, Texas in the late 1960s. The plot centers on the uncharted waters individuals ventured into as a result of the civil rights movement.

The novel depicts the chaotic nature of the times well. A TV journalist tries to overcome the race barrier by inviting an African American family to his home. Unfortunately, the neighborhood is among the most intolerant in Houston. He also tries to cover the local civil rights demonstrations accurately, but is pressured to "go with the official version." The tension between telling the truth and staying safe is a central part of the plot.

The book also deals with the discomfort that comes from getting to know people you've been taught to hate.  The words and drawings communicate the awkwardness that comes from ignorance as the two families come together.  

A sit-in turns violent, and the plot gets very serious. Someone is killed, people are rounded up and there's a trial. The reader knows what really happened, so the question is whether justice will prevail.

The book's title comes from a quotation by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

--Julie C., Headquarters

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