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

By Vincent Harding | Go to book overview

12
Letters to Teachers in Religious
Communities and Institutions

Dear Friends,

Although the essays in this book are addressed to teachers of every kind, located in a broad variety of settings, there was no way that I could complete the work without sharing some very specific expressions of memory, hope, and concern with those of you who are teaching in religious and other spiritually grounded situations.

As I reflect on why I am moved to close out this endeavor with a word to you, it seems to me that at least one of the obvious motivations is firmly embedded in my own most personal history. In addition to my mother, who was constantly teaching and encouraging, the first teachers I remember were in the little Harlem church when so much of my early life, vision, and commitment was nurtured. So my movement toward you in your synagogues and mosques, in your churches, temples, and dharma retreats, in your storefronts and basilicas, is a natural one, shaped by many early habits of the heart.

But far more than the force of habit and the call of memories are at work here, friends. I come naturally to a closing in your company because so many of the seminal issues in this sacred history of African-American transformative struggle are familiar to you, beginning with the idea of a "saving history" itself.

I am drawn to you, because you have been constantly teaching in words and actions the connections between convictions and

-201-

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