It is with deep sadness that we mourn the passing of well-known historian and scholar Dr. Vincent Gordon Harding, who died earlier this week at the age of 82. Harding, author of many books including Hope and History and There is a River: The Black Struggle for Freedom in America, was a contributing editor for Sojourners magazine and a dear friend to the Sojourners community.
“This is a great loss for our movement and the world and for all of us here at Sojourners,” says Sojourners President Jim Wallis. “We are poorer for his passing and richer for having known him.”
A leading figure in the civil rights movement, Harding served as a speechwriter for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and helped write, among others, the seminal speech “Beyond Vietnam.” Harding was the first director of the Martin Luther King Memorial Center in Atlanta, and cofounder and chair of The Veterans of Hope Project—which documents and promotes democracy, reconciliation, and nonviolence—at Illiff School of Theology in Denver, where Harding taught for more than 20 years and served as Professor Emeritus of Religion and Social Transformation.
Since the early 1980s, Sojourners has worked with Harding to encourage and equip leaders in the faith-based movement for social justice. From his earliest writings about democracy and racial justice to his last Sojourners magazine article “To Redeem the Soul of America” (April 2013), Harding remained a steadfast activist and ally in the struggle for freedom.
In remembrance of Harding’s legacy, we offer this roundup of his writings.
‘Do Not Grow Weary of Lose Heart’ (Sojourners, March 2012)
What does it take to sustain the struggle for justice over the long haul?
“The Content of Our Character” (Sojourners, September-October 2010)
Why do so many try to lighten the impact of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech?
“The Legacy of Martin Luther King: We Won’t Turn Back” (Sojourners’ God’s Politics blog, August 2010)
Unyielding determination to bring a new nation to birth is surely the best measure of the content of our character.
“‘Our Children Are Waiting for the Music’”(Sojourners, January 2010)
An open letter from a civil rights elder to President Obama.
“Midwifing a New America” (Sojourners’ God’s Politics blog, December 2008)
Something is trying to be born in America.
“Dangerous Spirituality” (Sojourners, January-February 1999)
The spiritual journeys of Martin Luther King Jr. and Howard Thurman
“The Spirit Lives!” (Sojourners, January-February 1996)
Pilgrims on the Mall: The Million Man March
“The Heart to Struggle”(Sojourners, November-December 1995)
Democracy’s history is one of perseverance.
“In the Company of the Faithful”(Sojourners, May 1985)
Journeying toward the Promised Land.