Congressman John Lewis, the civil rights giant who’ll be in Little Rock this weekend as part of the Arkansas Literary Festival, has an unrelated stop planned at Romine Elementary.

An announcement from a parent, Barclay Key, said Lewis had responded to letters from Romine students who’d read “March: Book One,” his graphic book about the civil rights years. He’ll meet school fifth graders Monday morning, Key said.


Key uses the announcement to draw attention to Romine’s poor performance on benchmark tests. It is a racially and economically segregated school that sends students in its zone on to a similarly segregated Henderson Middle School. Both are populated primarily by black students from lower-income families. Key’s announcement is pitched as a call to the community to get involved with improving Little Rock schools. He’s critical of a school district decision to end the Reading Recovery program at Romine. He directs attention to a Facebook page aimed at improving Little Rock schools and comments:

Anyone with ears to hear and eyes to see may join our Facebook page ( to get organized and put pressure on the six-figure people in this city to fulfill the constitutional obligation to provide a free, equitable public education to all of its citizens.

Sounds like John Lewis’ kind of people. 


Lewis will appear at 1:30 p.m. Sunday at the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center with illustrator Nate Powell and co-writer Andrew Aydin to talk about “March.”