Civil Rights Activist Vincent Harding to Visit Naropa University

Civil Rights Advocate Vincent Harding, PhDBOULDER, Colo. (April 19, 2013)--Naropa University welcomes back civil rights advocate and historian of the African American struggle for freedom, Vincent Harding, PhD, for a dialogue on Building a Multiracial Democratic Society, sponsored by Naropa's Religious Studies and Master of Divinity programs. The event will take place on Thursday, May 2, 2013 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at Naropa's Nalanda Events Center, 6287 Arapahoe Avenue, Boulder.

WHAT: An Evening with Vincent Harding: Building a Multiracial Democratic Society

WHEN: Thursday, May 2, 2013, 7:00-9:00 p.m.
WHERE: Naropa University's Nalanda Events Center, 6287 Arapahoe Avenue, Boulder
COST: Free and open to the public. Online registration is closed. Limited seating is available at the door.

Perhaps best known for writing the original draft of Martin Luther King Jr.'s 1967 speech opposing America's role in the Vietnam War, Vincent Harding became committed to nonviolence in 1953 while serving as a U.S. Army draftee, where he realized that he was a conscientious objector to war. An activist and scholar of religion and society, Harding holds an MA and PhD in history from the University of Chicago. He has authored numerous books, including There is a River: The Black Struggle for Freedom in America (1981),Hope and History: Why We Must Share the Story of the Movement (1990), and Martin Luther King: The Inconvenient Hero (1996).

Throughout the 1960s, Harding worked with Martin Luther King Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in the African American Civil Rights struggle, and during that time also established Mennonite House in Atlanta—a center to study, embody, and discuss the spiritual and social dimensions of nonviolence and the Civil Rights movement. After Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination in 1968, Coretta Scott King asked Harding to help organize the Martin Luther King Memorial Center, and he served as the center's first director. At this time, he also worked in Atlanta with African-American scholars, artists, and community organizers to develop and direct The Institute of the Black World, a model for the Black Studies movement then emerging in the United States. Harding taught at Iliff School of Theology in Denver for twenty-three years before retiring, and is now Professor Emeritus of Social Transformation.

"Dr. Harding's visit to Naropa is in keeping with what he has determined will be his life work—helping Americans to develop a multiracial democratic society," remarks Donald Matthews, associate professor of religious studies and lead faculty in the Master of Divinity program. "The event on May 2 will be an example of what can happen when people from diverse racial backgrounds engage in genuine conversation about matters of racial and ethnic diversity in the twenty-first century."

Requiring no religious background or belief structure, Naropa University's Religious Studies program allows students to take a comparative look at contemporary religions while also experiencing their contemplative aspects. Those interested in world wisdom traditions and religions can choose from Naropa's BA in Religious Studies, MA in Religious Studies, MA in Religious Studies with Language, and Master of Divinity programs. All of these programs combine rigorous study with personal practice, culminating in an embodied understanding of world wisdom traditions and systems of belief. 

Naropa University welcomes participants with disabilities. Please contact Don Matthews at or 303-245-4684 to inquire about accessibility and discuss disability accommodations needed to participate fully in this event.

Naropa University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Naropa University is a private, nonprofit, nonsectarian liberal arts institution dedicated to advancing contemplative education.  This approach to learning integrates the best of Eastern and Western educational traditions, helping students to know themselves more deeply and engage constructively with others. The university comprises a four-year undergraduate college and graduate programs in the arts, education, environmental leadership, psychology, and religious studies.