Wednesday, March 6, 2013

What I Have Learned from Studying African American and Labor History

One of the great things about spending the last 45 years studying and teaching African American History, and US Labor History is that I am no stranger to tragedy, disappointment and defeat, and will not give in when those become my reality or the reality of those around me. Having immersed myself in example after example of cruelty, inhumanity, and collective indifference to the suffering of others, I have learned to cherish the moments of enlightenment and resistance which do inevitably come, and the ingenuity of people who have been written off by the wealthy and the powerful, and the cultural and political creativity that results. You can jail people, kill people, stigmatize them and marginalize them, but you cannot permanently break their spirit, They will rise again, often in ways that will surprise everybody. That knowledge sustains me through the hardest times. And gives me something to share with those who have been on the journey a shorter time

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