by Rev. John Dear, S.J.
Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace
It was hot and muggy this past weekend at the campsite outside of Chapel Hill, N.C., where about 2,000 progressive Christians gathered for the second annual ecumenical Wild Goose Festival, but people didn’t seem to mind. Everyone enjoyed the music, the speakers, the prayer groups, the art booths, the kids’ games, and the conversations with old and new friends. I, too, was happy to catch up with many friends, among them civil rights leader and theologian Vincent Harding. He has taught for the last few decades at the Iliff School of Theology in Denver, but he is best known for his work with Martin Luther King Jr., the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee during the 1960s and for drafting speeches for Dr. King, including his famous April 4, 1967, speech against the Vietnam War.
Dr. Vincent Harding is author of several books, including Hope and History: Why We Must Share the Story of the Movement and Martin Luther King: An Inconvenient Hero. At Iliff, he continues to chair the “Veterans of Hope Project: A Center for the Study of Religion and Democratic Renewal.” I sat down with Vincent on Saturday morning for a conversation about the country, racism, nonviolence, Dr. King, hope and God…