The Movement Makes Us Human: An Interview with Dr. Vincent Harding on Mennonites, Vietnam, and Martin Luther King

Book, 2018, 109 pp
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How is it that the person who created and defined the field of Black Studies and drafted Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s prophetic Beyond Vietnam speech needs an introduction, even in movement circles today?

In this provocative and poignant interview, Dr. Vincent Harding reflects on the communities that shaped his early life, compelled him to join movements for justice, and sustained his ongoing transformation. He challenges those committed to justice today to consider the enduring power of nonviolent social change and to root out white supremacy in all of its forms. With his relentless commitment to education and relationship-building across lines of difference, Harding never doubted the capacity of people to create the world we need.

Read the review in Anabaptist Witness.

“Vincent Harding was our greatest ‘teacher of the movement,’ in both senses: historian of (and participant in) the Southern Freedom Struggle; and then animator of (and sage among) its many offspring. This intimate, wide-ranging interview of a formidable elder by a young Mennonite pastor-activist can serve as a primer on Harding’s fascinating journey and remarkable work. He was a pastor and curator of spirit to so many of us in contemporary social movements, and these pages offer his counsel on how to be human to a new generation.” —Ched Myers and Elaine Enns, authors of Ambassadors of Reconciliation

“Vincent and Rosemarie Freeney Harding lived democracy as a religious quest. They defined democracy as ‘breathing space’ and democratic movements as those that make us human. Shenk’s interviews with Vincent Harding reveal one of America’s most significant freedom struggle leaders reviewing his remarkable life. Together with this younger colleague, Harding reflects on the provocative, momentous questions facing Americans today—and on what will be necessary to make room to breathe for all.” —Rose Marie Berger, Senior Associate Editor, Sojourners Magazine

“Reader be warned, The Movement Makes Us Human isn’t the ‘hot new thing’ to consume quickly to keep up with superficial water cooler banter. Within these pages are the concrete stories and wisdom that have emerged out of a life lived well with others. Harding’s distinctive voice still compels us to join the river of struggle and inspires us towards a deeper humanity, a more courageous faith, and a more just society. Read it with care!” —Drew G. I. Hart, Assistant Professor of Theology, Messiah College

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