Sophomore students at Burke High School are currently completing a special project that highlights the topic of civil rights suppression around the world. If that sounds like a huge undertaking, well, it is. With the help of Charleston County Public Library staff members, students are creating graphic historical novels based on Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart.

In case you slept through high school English class, Things Fall Apart is the story of Okonkwo, a man who sees the traditions of his people being eroded by white missionaries and government officials. Burke English and Social Studies students used the context of the novel to develop their own stories about how political oppression has affected other marginalized groups throughout history. 

CCPL staff members helped students find the necessary historical evidence and first-person accounts to develop their stories: CCPL’s archivist Katie Gray taught students research skills; Sam Tyson, the library’s digital content coordinator, gave a lecture about interview techniques; and Rachel Hall, library assistant in the YA department, taught technical skills in graphic design and writing skills to help students with their storyboards.

Tomorrow, Thurs. Jan. 18, CCPL hosts the 75 Burke High School sophomores at the Main Branch for a tour of the archive and YA sections of the library, where they’ll also sign up to receive their own library cards.

In a press release CCPL deputy director Darlene Jackson said, “The library is committed to sustaining our connection with Burke High School, which is served by our Main and John L. Dart branches. We continue working to strengthen that connection through outreach, library programs and partnered library projects involving students at the school.”

Once Burke students complete their graphic novels, CCPL will have them printed, bound, and entered into the archive collection at the library. Learn more online at

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