Recently I have read three or four books on the late John Lewis. I went back to the library to see if I could locate a book on another member of the Civil Rights movement. I read a book by the late Julian Bond titled Time to Teach. It contains his lecture notes from several major universities he taught at, including Harvard, University of Virginia and then American University.
Bond details the planning and strategizing that went into the marches and protests of the era as well as the struggle with the Kennedy and Johnson administrations that wanted to take the fight for Civil Rights slowly whereas the movement pressed them to make it a priority.
The brutality, the beatings, the rape, and murder that took place during those years are difficult to take in, but it must be in order to understand the magnitude of the struggle. I wish that the testimony of the people in the Civil Rights movement along with the brutal images broadcast on television of police on horses charging after peaceful marchers were necessary to have driven the government to act on Civil Rights.
The writing is compelling, straight forward, and paints a picture of the Civil Rights years vividly. Adding to the power of Bond’s words is an afterward by Vann R. Newkirk II who connects the difficulties past to the present difficulties we experience now.
I will mention this again what we learn about the past can help shape what we do in the future. We need to take them to heart and act before our present difficulties become impossible to stop.