Brother To A Dragonfly
June 4, 2013 4:46 PM Subscribe
posted by willF (10 comments total)
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, the only white person present at the founding of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, friend of Klansmen, and iconoclast preacher, has died at age 88.
I know of him best through his wonderful book, Brother to a Dragonfly (a National Book Award finalist); it's a memoir that intertwines his experiences in the American Civil Rights Movement and his love for his self-destructive brother, Joe. PBS did a documentary on him: God's Will
; you might find it of interest. The New York Times obituary
has more biographical details.
Here's one quotation from an essay in Writings on Resistance and Reconciliation (more can be found at Inhabitatio Dei
Early in my life I took a position against racial discrimination, joined Martin Luther King in the formation of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, walked to school with the Little Rock Nine, and involved myself in the civil rights movement in various ways. In none of this did I think of myself as being on the Left. Others, in the Mississippi of my white rearing, did. The designation was theirs, not mine.
When the Grand Dragon of the North Carolina Ku Klux Klan was indicted and tried for contempt of Congress, I helped raise money for his defense. I was with him the night the marshals came to take him away. I kept in touch with his family, visited him in Danbury prison. I should not have been surprised when some considered that a move to the far Right, even though I also visited others there for crimes of war resistance. I saw no inconsistency since neither Isaiah nor Jesus said anything about ideology. Prisoners are prisoners and it is our vocation to set them free.