Hope and History: Why We Must Share the Story of the Movement

By Vincent Harding | Go to book overview

Foreword

Lerone Bennett, Jr.

Before 300,000 could march on Washington, before Martin Luther King, Jr., could climb to the mountaintop, and before John Lewis could cross the Selma bridge, history had to take the form and color of a guerilla band of great teachers who patiently, ploddingly, persistently, all through the thirties, all through the forties when there was no rain and the laborers were few prepared the ground for a harvest many of them would never see.

And to understand Thurgood Marshall and Brown v. Board of Education, it is necessary, first of all, to understand Charles Hamilton Houston, who taught Marshall and who made the Fourteenth Amendment hop, skip, and dance in his mind.

You understand what I'm saying?

I'm saying that you can't understand the revolution that desegregated the schools if you don't understand the revolution that a revolutionary teacher made in school.

And to understand Martin Luther King, Jr., it is necessary, first, to understand the great African-American teacher/ preacher, Benjamin Elijah Mays of Morehouse, who saved the dreamer for the dream and for history.

The first point I want to make here, by way of introduction, is that you can't understand Hope and History if you don't understand the history and the hope that shaped Vincent Harding and made him one of the legendary teachers of our time.

My brother and teacher and friend says little or nothing about himself in this book, but it was in his classroom at Spelman College that some of the merry mischief and mystery of the

-ix-

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