|by Wendy Chmielewski
For decades, the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) promoted nonviolence as a way to bring about social justice. FOR staff members, such as Bayard Rustin, Glenn Smiley, and George Houser, advised Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the use of such strategies during the Montgomery, Alabama, Bus Boycott in 1955. Three years later, the FOR decided to produce a “comic book” for readers of all ages that would promote nonviolence as a viable and practical alternative in the struggle for civil rights. The story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the work of Martin Luther King, Jr., and the heroism of ordinary people in the city became the focus of the comic book, Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story.
The comic book was distributed by the FOR across the United States. In the 1960s, a Spanish language version, Martin Luther King y la historia de Montgomery, was distributed throughout Latin America. Earlier this year, Dalia Ziada of the American Islamic Congress, and based in Cairo, Egypt, believed that people throughout the Middle East would also be inspired by the story in the comic book. Ziada translated the comic book into Arabic, and distributed over 2,000 copies of it in Morocco, Tunisia, and Cairo, during the days of uprising in February and March.
The Swarthmore College Peace Collection has copies of Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story in all three languages, as well as thousands of other documents detailing the history of the FOR from its origins in 1915 to the present day.
More information is available on the FOR website.