The Silence of Our Friends

The Silence of Our Friends

Book - 2012
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This semi-autobiographical tale is set in 1968 Texas, against the backdrop of the fight for civil rights. A white family from a notoriously racist neighborhood in the suburbs and a black family from its poorest ward cross Houston's color line, overcoming humiliation, degradation, and violence to win the freedom of five black college students unjustly charged with the murder of a policeman.
Publisher: New York : First Second, 2012
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781596436183
1596436182
Branch Call Number: 741.5973 Lo
Description: 198 pages, 1 unnumbered page : chiefly illustrations ; 22 cm
Additional Contributors: Demonakos, Jim 1977-
Powell, Nate

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kwsmith
Sep 30, 2018

This is an interesting memoir written from the perspective of a white boy growing up in Texas during the 1968 American Civil Rights movement. The title is a barbed quote from Martin Luther King: "In the end we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." The excellent black and white art is penciled in a very realistic style, although I was a tiny bit bothered by the slightly messy lettering.

l
lydia1879
Apr 23, 2018

The Silence of Our Friends feels like volume 2.5 of John Lewis’ March, mostly owing to Nate Powell’s artwork, who also did the artwork for March. It’s set in the 1960’s in Texas and surrounds a student protest turned riot, where five black students were unjustly charged with killing a police officer. This is a semi-autobiographical exploration of the author’s father’s time as a white reporter, investigating race relations in the area.

If you want to read March vol 2 (and volume 3), do that before you read this because it gives a lot more context to the organisations at the time (such as the SNCC) and other people and movements. Because of course, John Lewis was there in the thick of it. In the second volume of March, he often will introduce a character and then do a few panels explaining who they are, what they stand for, whether they’re radical or not and where they come from and this really helps to inform the rest of the panels, which I think Mark Long’s comic lacked a little bit.

There is some disability representation in there — one of the little girls, Julie, is blind, and I loved seeing her come to life on the page.

I enjoyed the novel overall and found it really easy to read, though unfortunately it did lack a lot of emotional intensity for me. Mark Long’s family is white, which is a factor that he cannot change, of course, but it meant that a lot of the racial violence occurring in his street was happening on either sides of his family. The part I really loved reading was the trial — it was very emotionally tense and compelling and I wish there had been more of it.

Loved Nate Powell’s artwork.

a
AnotherDay
Dec 04, 2013

I found the book interesting for the well-told story and also for the beautiful black and white drawings. I picked the book because I'm interested in stories about civil rights struggles in the 1960s, and it might be a good starting point for anyone who has yet to learn about it. Thanks to the staff at the Main library for putting it on display, that is how I found it!

mondaysomeday Sep 24, 2013

This story is primarily about a white family, and has really enlightening details into events in Houston during the Civil Rights Movement. Yet the author said in an interview that his one regret was that he had "not been able to find Larry [an African American leader] or his children." I wasn't surprised to read that after I finished the book: their perspective is lacking and their lives obviously quite fictionalized.

red_alligator_2472 Jul 04, 2013

I LOVE THE CONNECTION BETWEEN THE WAY THE WHITES AND THE BLACKS WERE FRIENDS AND THEN THEY BACAME ENEMYS AND CAME BACK TO FRIENDS TO SHOW A WAY OF CHANGE

sit_walk Feb 25, 2013

While I appreciate what wfbranch says below, this is still an engaging and enlightening read. It's always good to be reminded of the civil rights struggle, not so long ago, and its implications for present day North American society.

wfbranch Aug 18, 2012

As a white person, I question the honesty in the author's portayal of a white character as having been somewhat heroic, but I do know that there were at least some whites who indeed did the right thing during the Civil Rights movement. I know that the artist has also written some of his own books and intend to find some of them.

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red_eagle_336 Jul 09, 2012

red_eagle_336 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

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