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The Silence of Our Friends

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  2,743 Ratings  ·  308 Reviews
In 1960s Texas, a white family from a notoriously racist neighborhood 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.

The Silence of Our Friends draws from the childhood of Mark Long, who, with co-author Ji
Paperback, 201 pages
Published January 17th 2012 by Holtzbrinck Roaring Book Press First Second
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Sep 27, 2013 rated it did not like it
just what i was waiting for, a graphic novel about the civil rights movement framed around the white experience

to be fair, i'm sure that it's a deeply personal story for mark long, considering it's about his father and his own experience growing up in 1968 TX. maybe it's a gross kneejerk reaction on my part that i just can't seem to get over, but i cannot fathom the necessity of a whole novel, albeit a graphic one which is obviously more condensed, about white people dealing with black racism. i
First Second Books
Jan 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
There are a few stories about the civil rights movement we all know, and this isn't one of them.


One of the things that I found most interesting about this book (besides that Nate Powell's art is gorgeous -- as always!) is just how much of an unknown story this is. We all know about the civil rights movement -- that's what grade school was for -- but when you start reading about everything that was going on in the sixties, it turns out that Rosa Parks and sit-ins are only a part of the whole
Jul 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
The title draws on one of Martin Luther King’s more pointed but widely quoted comments: “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.” But it is a barbed comment – the silence of not using and perpetuating the language of oppression or the silence in the face of that language being used. In this wonderful (and fabulously drawn) tale of the civil rights movement in Houston, we get both kinds of silence, in a story where a local but new to town televisi ...more
I'm not really sure what to make of this one. It's an earnest memoir about author Mark Long's childhood in Houston in the 60's, when his dad worked as a TV reporter covering race issues and befriended the one black man who was willing to talk to him.

On the one hand, the tensions between whites and blacks are starkly shown in sad and disturbing incidents, and the fact that these two men are able to bridge that gulf at all and introduce their families to each other is really touching and inspirin
I'd recommend this to readers who are looking for a factual/historical account of the Civil Rights movement, but I didn't think it had the emotional investment and power of books like Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry and To Kill a Mockingbird. However, the artwork did, at times, create powerful imagery which added to the story.

I did read it in one sitting, so that might have influenced my opinion. When I was done, I wished there would have been another 100 pages or so to delve into the families a bit
Edward Sullivan
A powerful, semi-autobiographical story of racial tensions in late 1960's Dallas that raises tough question and offers no easy answers.
Dani Shuping
Sep 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novel
Every so often a book will come along that will challenge you, that will make you think, and that will hopefully leave you a bit better after you’ve read it. And this is just one such book. And yes some people are probably thinking that’s high praise for a graphic novel, but the story will give you chills within the first three pages and suck you in and not let you go until the very end of the story.

It’s 1968 in Houston, Texas and the fight for civil rights is heating up. Young Mark Long’s fathe
This is an impressive graphic novel that tells the true story of the TSU Five and civil rights in Houston from the dual viewpoints of a black professor and a white television news man. The story a somewhat fictionalized account of real events in which Mark Long's father was involved. Police opened fire on the TSU dormitories, and one officer was killed; it was Long's father's testimony that demonstrated that the officer had been killed by friendly fire and helped acquit the black man who was arr ...more
"In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."

Set in a racially-divided and charged Houston, in 1968, this graphic novel follows two storylines: Jack Long, a white television news reporter, covering the the events around civil rights protests in the city, and Larry Thompson, an African-American teacher at Texas Southern University, who is an organizer of the protests. The two form an uneasy and unexpected friendship, and their paths intersect both in
Jen Bigheart (I Read Banned Books)
Giving away 5 copies:

Set in Houston, Texas, Silence of Our Friends takes place during a time where racial tensions are high and people's patience is at an all-time low - 1968. Jack is a local television newsman assigned to report on "racial news." After a police officer is shot and killed during a non-violent rally at Texas State University, the town is in an uproar and people start pointing fingers. Actually, all fingers are pointing to five innocent African-American men. J
This is a nonfiction graphic novel about a small period of time in Houston, Texas in 1968 when life was pretty tense due to the civil rights struggle. It is the story of two men–one who is white and one who is African-American–and how they came together to try to break the race barrier in their neighborhoods. Of course there is more to the story than that. Each family is also portrayed and readers learn a bit more about the dynamics of the family behind each man.

I enjoyed reading about these sto
Samantha Tai
This graphic novel is based on the author's father's experiences being a newscaster in Texas during the Civil Rights movement. Jack Long is the newscaster who films the sit-in by Texas Southern University African American students and civil right activists after the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee was banned from campus. This non-violent protest became violent after an undercover policeman was shot and police stormed the men's dormitory. It was believed that the policeman was shot by s ...more
Mississippi Library Commission
Graphic novel fan? Of course. Civil rights buff? Yes, indeed. The Silence of Our Friends is a strong offering from First Second Books. It tells an important and interesting story about the struggle for civil rights in Texas, made even more engaging by its obscurity. Pair this with John Lewis's March: Book One for a well-rounded look at the civil rights movement portrayed in graphic novel format.

Mar 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is (mostly) history done right, which doesn't happen often enough in graphic novels. This is an affecting portrait of the segregated south told from both sides of the divide. This is a quick read, though it is 200 pages long, in part because so much rides on the great Nate Powell who shows rather than tells much of the story. This is a little ironic given the title comes from MLK's "In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." Powell silently g ...more
Tatiana Malone
Aug 09, 2016 rated it it was ok
I like story book about civil right.
That good long story happen to they.
I really love a story about happen. Rhys same happen before
❇ Critterbee
Aug 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
This story is taken from events that ooccured in Houston, Texas, about 50 years ago.

quote from
The TSU Riot, 50 years later What really happened that night in 1967, and what does it mean for Houston?
Alex LaRotta, for the Houston Chronicle May 16, 2017 Updated: May 17, 2017 9:02am

"Local and national newspapers, including the Houston Chronicle, labeled the incident a riot. Visit the Texas State Historical Association's Handbook of Texas History Online, and there, under "Riots," a brief description
Before I start this review, I want to add a quick caveat: as far as I can tell, the creators of this comic are all white (and the main writer, Mark Long, is the son of the white news reporter depicted in this story). That being said, I was a bit dubious at the "white guy is not a dick to black people" story that makes up this comic's plot - those stories often feel like they're pandering to white readers and their feelings. I still gave this book a higher rating because I did enjoy reading it, b ...more
Jul 29, 2017 rated it it was ok
This was just okay. I was expecting a lot out of it, and it didn't really deliver for me. I think the sketchy style of the art was hard to follow sometimes. The scrawled lettering that was supposed to represent distant voices I think threw me off a lot of the time. I'm from Houston, so I liked reading about events that took place in an area I'm familiar with. Also, the "they shot King" page was great. All in all, just okay though.
Feb 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-fiction
This is a good reminder about how a handful of people can make difference.
Dec 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
***If you want to read more thoughts on why this book is WONDERFUL, visit my expanded review at ***

In The Silence of Our Friends, Mark Long and Jim Demonakos team with Eisner Award-winning illustrator Nate Powell (Any Empire; Swallow Me Whole) to bring readers a story of friendship and integrity set against the backdrop of the civil rights movement.

Houston, 1967: white TV journalist Jack Long strikes up an uneasy friendship with black professor and civil
Paul  Hankins
First Second has been publishing some excellent graphic novels that are as thought-provoking as they are visually-appealing. Looking back to Refresh, Refresh, the first of the graphic novels I had read from this publisher, to this fall's AMERICUS, THE SILENCE OF OUR FRIENDS will find itself welcome in classrooms where exploration of historical events and social issues are discussed.

Set in 1968, when young boys are playing Vietnam War in their backyards, a reporter and family man finds himself at
This is a very specific story.

For some reason, when I was reading about this book prior to reading it itself, I had the impression that this was a more comprehensive story about the civil rights struggle in one particular locale. Instead, it's a very personal story about a couple of families and one particular trial after one particular incident. Which doesn't make it a bad book, of course - it just wasn't what I'd expected.

I appreciated the depiction of what being a "race reporter" (I think I
Feb 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Based on a Martin Luther King Jr quote " the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends". The Silence of our Friends by Mark Snow and Mark Demonakos with illustrations by Nate Powell is a graphic novel that covers a 1968 in Houston Texas that forged a friendship between a white journalist and a black activist. Five black students were arrested for the shooting of a policeman during a violent confrontation. The evidence proved that the police shot one o ...more
Cait Lackey
May 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
"The Silence of Our Friends" is a young adult graphic novel that takes place during the Civil Rights movement in Texas in 1967. The novel describes the racial persecution two families, one white and one black, face and how they find friendship despite their differences. The novel tells the story through the point of view of a child named Mark Long, whose father is reporting the story of five black students accused of murdering a white policeman. While "The Silence of Our Friends" is considered s ...more
Hmm. I understand that this is a fictionalized memoir, based on Long's childhood experiences? I feel like its primary audience would be other white people who grew up in the 60s? It assumes a fair amount of knowledge about the civil rights movement--could maybe be paired with some other writing about the black experience in a classroom setting? But on its own might be a little hard for a lot of teens to grasp, despite its ostensible teen/child narrators.

Still: it's a well-done recollection of se
I majored in history education as an undergrad, so when I come across historical themed books, I can’t shake the part of me that says ‘This would be great in a classroom library, this could hook reluctant learners.’ See, that’s exactly what I thought when I finished The Silence Of Our Friends by Mark Long and Jim Demonakos with art by Nate Powell, a graphic novel detailing a neighborhood suburb of Houston, Texas rife with racial tension in 1968 after SNCC protests.

Read the rest of my review here
Raquel Castro
Just another story about how white allies "suffered" for supporting the fight for POC's rights.
I'm tired of this extremly outrageous white-washing of oppresion that white people performed during history.
Also, the authors portray the families from very racist perspectives: while the white family is loving, caring, and supportive, the black family is shown as rude and even violent. For example, they fight a lot, the father hits his son, etc.
Basically, the portray the white family as the good one,
Jan 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
The positive: The art in this is lovely, just the kind of scratchy black-and-white I like most. The characters all feel real, the historical content is well-handled, and it's bleak and sad and still has touches of hope here and there.

The negative: Not really anything major. There were lots of little side stories that felt a bit shortshrifted, but nothing so badly as to be a negative.

The summary: A really good read, one I recommend to everyone once it's out.

Note: I was able to read an ARC of this
Ryan Mishap
Jan 31, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novel
Yes, of course the art is fantastic. Fictionalized accounts of true stories (maybe especially childhood memory ones) can be dodgy as time aids the entropy of memory and it becomes easier to alter the facts to make a better story. Or, as I feel is the case here, leave too much out: there needed to be more done to convince me the two families actually became friends.

The time spent on the kids at the beginning seems wasted, but it helps establish the parent's worry that their kids are sliding into
Hilary Nekvinda
Feb 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-lit-2014
Graphic novel that depicts a true story during the Civil Rights movement. Two families lives become intertwined as a white reporter, Jack Long, covers protests in the Third Ward of Houston, Texas-led by TSU professor, Larry Thompson. While the story tackles serious issues, the graphics help carry the story and fill in the blanks. It's an easy read, intriguing story and sheds light on struggles African Americans faced during the Civil Rights movement.
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“In the end we will remember not the words of our enemies...but the silence of our friends.

- Martin Luther King, Jr.”
“Men of conscience have got to join together, Jack. Or nothing is going to change.” 0 likes
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