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"Arthur Takes a Stand"
Arthur episode
Episode no. Season 21
Episode 4b
Written by Peter Hirsch
Original air date February 12, 2018 (2018-02-12)
Guest appearance(s)

John Lewis as himself

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Arthur (season 21)
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"Arthur Takes a Stand" is the second segment of the fourth episode of the 21st season of Arthur. It originally aired on PBS Kids in the United States on February 12, 2018. "Arthur Takes a Stand" was written by Peter Hirsch and storyboarded by Cilbur Rocha. In the episode, Arthur learns that his school's lunch lady, Mrs. MacGrady, has to do all her work by herself. He attempts to get the principal to hire an assistant for her, but his request is denied. Through advice and encouragement from his friend Sue Ellen and civil rights leader John Lewis, Arthur gets the rest of his class to participate in a sit-in protest.


In school, principal Ms. Tingley announces that breakfast will be served in the school cafeteria, and that civil rights leader John Lewis will be visiting the school. The next morning, the students enjoy the breakfast, and Arthur talks to Mrs. MacGrady after it is served. He is surprised to learn that she does all the cafeteria work by herself, without any assistance. Arthur goes to the principal's office, where he asks Ms. Tingley to hire more cafeteria staff, and she answers that the school does not have the budget for it.

Arthur's friend Sue Ellen suggests that he start a boycott. Arthur goes to Mrs. MacGrady with a "Boycott Breakfast" poster, although she states that serving breakfast was her own decision. In the library, Arthur has a nightmare where Mrs. MacGrady is overworked from breakfast being served 24 hours a day; he awakes to find John Lewis sitting at the table with him. Lewis advises Arthur to be persistent in his protesting.

After breakfast the next day, Arthur continues to sit at his table, starting a sit-in protest. Mrs. MacGrady joins him, agreeing that not getting any help is unfair. The entire class slowly joins Arthur's protest. Ms. Tingley enters and demands them to stop; however, Mrs. MacGrady refuses to leave until she is guaranteed to get an assistant. Lewis enters and recognizes Mrs. MacGrady as an old friend from the March on Washington, also joining the sit-in. Finally, Ms. Tingley decides to write to the school board and request more money. Lewis tells Arthur, "There's nothing more important than following your conscience. If you can do that, you're always going to sleep well" as the episode ends.


An animated short titled "Arthur on Racism: Talk, Listen, and Act" was produced in memory of John Lewis in August 2020. In the video, Arthur and Buster ask Mrs. MacGrady what they can do to help fight racism. The short was written in response to the death of George Floyd in May 2020, and features Arthur and Buster's solemn reactions to watching a video implied to be of Floyd's death.

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