I can only urge you to listen to this wise voice of history and its deep resonance for the contemporary world. Vincent Harding uses the word “magnificent” often and he embodies that word.

He offers an essential and utterly helpful perspective, I feel, to our ongoing collective reflection on civility, moral imagination, and social healing. He was a friend and speechwriter of Martin Luther King Jr. and a force in the philosophy of nonviolence that drove the civil rights movement’s success. That is to say, he was at the center of a moment of human and societal transformation that was wrested from another American era of toxic division and social violence. And Vincent Harding has continued to mine the lessons of that time in the intervening decades, and to bring them creatively and usefully to young people today.

These are stories we rarely see or hear, and they are happening in neighborhoods in places like Detroit and Philadelphia where our lens is usually focused on despair and decay.

"We Shall Overcome" (1964)

So among other things — interestingly, from a very different direction, echoing my conversation with Frances Kissling — Vincent Harding reminds us that change and hope come from the margins. And he has stories to tell about that hope as it’s embodied and lived on the margins of today.

This is also a beautiful hour of production — rich with the music by which people, as Vincent Harding puts it, did not merely demonstrate but “sang” their way to freedom in the 1960s. You will never hear the song “This Little Light of Mine” or the phrase “a Kumbaya moment” in the same way again. Enjoy, and be enriched.


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Reflections

If hope and change are possible before we run out of time, they will be found at the center where the weight of evidence from all humanity transforms our lump of coal into a diamond which will then radiate light throughout humanity right to the margins. 

At the center we will see the democratic process has evolved because we do not have a common view and continuing to believe we can find it through democracy will only ensure our democratic self-destruction.

At the center we will see it seems we have a common purpose, to answer "Why am I?" and that all the different ways we try to give meaning to our lives simply prove they can't. We should then see if we empty "the void" of all the way we try to fill it, we will eventually have at least the same view of ourselves, "reaching out to the limits of our capacities, to others and to God; and perhaps we will be looking at the face of God. http://www.thelastwhy.ca/poem/