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Clayborne Carson on the passing of Dr. Vincent Harding

Photograph of Dr. Vincent Harding

Dr. Vincent Harding in Ithaca, New York, at the Dorothy Cotton Institute Gala to celebrate International Human Rights Day, 10 December 2013.

May 20 2014

I was greatly saddened to hear today that “the Great Soul, Dr. Vincent Harding, left this world.” He was indeed an invaluable contributor to the African American freedom struggle and was one of the few remaining living links to the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Vincent was a longtime friend and advisor (historical, political, spiritual) to me and many others who were fortunate enough to know this great scholar and mentor. He was a member of the national Advisory Board of the King Papers Project since its inception. During the 1960s, Vincent and his late wife Rosemarie had a close relationship with the King family,  who lived nearby in Atlanta. Vincent was a dedicated activist and was the person Martin chose to draft the first version of his controversial Riverside Church speech opposing the war in Vietnam. He was also close to many of the SNCC activists I knew, and shared Ella Baker’s belief that self-reliant grassroots leaders were essential to the destruction of the Jim Crow system of legalized racial segregation and discrimination.

For Carson's entire article, see


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Clayborne Carson, King Institute