We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Vincent Harding knew, worked with and was a lifetime follower of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Harding followed Dr. King by sharing and keeping hope alive for decades as he wrote, spoke and founded the Veterans of Hope Project at Iliff School of Theology in Denver. http://www’veteransofhope.org. Dr. King’s message is echoed in the words and emulated in the work of Vincent Harding. Those words brought much-needed hope to me this morning as I learned of Harding’s life, leadership and shared wisdom.
For this awakening I am indebted to Dr. Harding who died two years ago at age 82. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/22/us/vincent-harding-civil-rights-author-and-associate-of-dr-king-dies-at-82.html. I am also indebted once again to Krista Tippett who shares the wisdom of guests through her weekly radio series on Minnesota Public Radio. (http://www.onbeing.org) Today’s conversation with Vincent Harding teaches me truths I had not seen and reminds me of forgotten roots of ideas that shape my life.
What the world needs now is to hear, learn, think and hope to understand the wisdom of those who have walked the walk and held on to “infinite hope.” Listening to Vincent Harding this morning inspired me to keep hope alive. My hope this evening is that others will find time to listen and to maintain and pass on the flame of “infinite hope.” Take time to listen to the conversation and to read the comments of other listened — http://www.onbeing.org/program/vincent-harding-is-america-possible/79
This post is a departure from the “norm” – if indeed there is some sort of norm to this blog. Still, in the unparalleled confusion of facts that characterizes this campaign, today’s remembrance of 9-11 – not to mention the proclivities of subscribers to this blog – a hasty post seems in order.
Within the past couple of hours, I listed to this week’s episode of On Being with Krista Tippett. (http://www.onbeing.org/program/jimmy-wales-the-sum-of-all-human-knowledge/8916) I have always thought that the best time to learn is when all the balls are in the air; the balls-in-the-air construct is most evident when a group or community is learning together, the challenge we face today.
Krista Tippett’s guest is Jimmy Wales, the co-founder and “promoter” of Wikipedia and Chair Emeritus of the Wikimedia Foundation. No doubt every information maven who reads this blog has critiqued, questioned, deliberated, and occasionally argued with and debunked Wikipedia. Clearly, every neophyte researcher was been cautioned to challenge herself to “drink deeper of the Pierian spring.”
Still, the dialog between Tippett and Wales deserves a listen or read. It’s about the meaning of truth and of community, the distinction between facts and truth, about the role of the global encyclopedia and of our place in the cosmos. The conversation also touches on a conundrum that I think of often, i.e. how a “fact” or an idea can be true and untrue at the same time.
It may be the solemnity of the day, or the ambiguity of the campaign, a lazy summer morning in September – or then again it may be that the librarian gene kicks in when the topic is Wikipedia. Whatever, today’s On Being exchange between Krista Tippett and Jimmy Wales – and the published responses — gave me pause to think and share with like-minded readers.
First I was aggravated at Oliver Stone for throwing in the towel on the much-touted film on the eve of the Martin Luther King holiday. He knew the announcement would grab the headlines and further sully the great man’s name.
Then I turned my anger to the keepers of the MLK legacy, the King family and their advisers. Why not just admit that MLK had feet of clay that are far less relevant than his leadership of a movement that has forever restructured the political, social and cultural contours of this nation.
When I turned on the radio for my Sunday morning ritual listen to On Being I was delighted to realize that the gurus at MPR had wisely chosen to air a conversation that Krista Tippett shared some weeks ago with Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons and Lucas Johnson. Listening to that thoughtful discussion relieved my angst and inspired reflections far more appropriate to the occasion. Though my original intent was to share the podcast and transcript, a click on the website disclosed that the interview was actually videotaped in December in front of a live audience at National Public Radio in Washington, DC.
Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons, an early black power feminist, is the older of the two guests. She well remembers blatant racism, picketing and marching, the subtleties of the leaders’ philosophies and the distortion of the facts over time. She has written about her experience as a SNCC activist in Hands on the Freedom Plow: Personal Accounts by Women in SNCC. Today Dr. Simmons is assistant professor of religion at the University of Florida. She is also a member of the National Council of Elders (about which I want to learn more.)
Dr. Lucas Johnson, a younger man, speaks more of the impact of the civil rights movement on him personally and on his generation. He is Southeast and Mid-Atlantic Regional Coordinator of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation. His conversation revolves around the impact of the civil rights movement on current issues of peace, non-violence and reconciliation.
- MPR has posted a short video discussion starter based on MLK’s I Have a Dream speech. View the video here: http://vimeo.com/64079741