Book Review: Still I Rise

Roland Laird and Taneshia Nash Laird, founders of Posro Media, one of the first Black-owned independent comic book companies in the early 1990s, bring history lovers a 217-page comic book, Still I Rise: A Graphic History of African Americans.

Roland Laird and Taneshia Nash Laird, founders of Posro Media, one of the first Black-owned independent comic book companies in the early 1990s, bring history lovers a 217-page comic book, Still I Rise: A Graphic History of African Americans.

Still I Rise can easily appeal to history buffs, and those who may not be as interested in history, because of the interesting artwork, notable quotes and lessons learned within each box. Every single box within the strip could be used for a classroom discussion and further research. This comic book tackles a plethora of subjects: slavery, Nat’s Rebellion, Dr. King, school boycotts, Harriet Tubman, Marcus Garvey, W.E.B. DuBois versus Booker T. Washington, the Jim Crow era, slave inventors Henry Blair, Joe Anderson and much more.

But don’t be fooled by the cover, which features Barack Obama. Only three pages actually talk about the nation’s first Black president.

There were several other topics that were glossed over, like the creation of the Chicago Defender and how Black music was copied repeatedly in rock n’ roll, R&B and blues, in only one box.

The only mention of hip hop music, also another important part of Black history, was to complain about hip hop legends Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac being murdered during an East Coast/West Coast rival. No mention is made of hip hop contributions, like producers Sean Combs’ and Russell Simmons’ monetary and musical success, rappers Will Smith and Run DMC earning first-time awards, Black-owned clothing lines (ex. Karl Kani and Fubu), or Public Enemy being apart of the Black Power Movement. This may annoy the hip hop generation, but it’s toward the back of the book, so readers would’ve gotten too much information to stop reading.

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