Dr. Vincent Harding was very involved with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as a friend and colleague. He also served as an elder brother and advisor to many of the members of SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee). His social activism has deep spiritual roots in the Mennonite tradition and the Black church. Dr. Harding has been one of the chroniclers of the civil rights movement as a participant, an historian, and social observer. He and his late wife, Rosemarie, were senior consultants to the “Eyes on the Prize” documentary film project.
In 1997, the Hardings founded the Veterans of Hope Project at the Center for the Study of Religion and Democratic Renewal. The project is an interdisciplinary initiative on spiritual, cultural, and participatory democracy at the Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colorado. The primary mission of the Veterans of Hope Project is to encourage a healing-centered, intergenerational approach to social justice activism that recognizes the interconnectedness of spirit, creativity, and citizenship.
The Hardings began their work in the Mennonite Church in Chicago, Illinois in the late 1950s and moved to Atlanta, Georgia in 1961 to join with Dr. King and others as reconcilers and nonviolent trainers in the Southern Freedom Movement. Dr. Harding was the first director of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Center in Atlanta and served as director and chairperson of The Institute of the Black World. In ensuing years, the Hardings served as scholars, advisors and encouragers for a wide variety of movements, organizations and individuals working for compassionate social change in the United States and internationally.
Dr. Harding is the author of many books including: Martin Luther King: The Inconvenient Hero; There Is a River: The Black Struggle for Freedom in America; A Certain Magnificence: Lyman Beecher and the Transformation of American Protestantism, 1775-1863; Hope and History: Why We Must Share the Story of the Movement. He also co-edited, The Eyes on the Prize Civil Rights Reader: Documents, Speeches, and Firsthand Accounts from the Black Freedom Struggle.
He is the recipient of numerous awards including the Award for Outstanding Achievement in Humanities from the Colorado Endowment for the Humanities.