It's a good collection, but it's missing some of my heroes. Emma Goldman is in it, but Starhawk and Alice Walker are missing. I'll ask Shetterly if he wants to add them to his traveling exhibit. My own list of people who haven (powerfully) spoken truth to power is international. I was moved to write this by some posts I just read online about my favorite educator, Paulo Freire, a Brazilian who I'll say more about later.
Shetterly's title reminded me of the phrase 'speak truth to power'. Googling it led me to a Quaker document on pacifism (written in 1955), with this explanation of the phrase:
The list of those who speak truth to power is long. So begins another series in this blog: portraits of my heroes. (If you're enjoying the bibliographies, don't worry, I've still got lots of those coming.) I debated using the word heroes, because I don't want to put them on such a pedestal that they seem unreachable. But we can all be heroes. Remember June Jordan's (and Alice Walker's and Barak Obama's) words: "We are the ones we've been waiting for." My heroes are my inspiration to do the most powerful work I can.
Our title, Speak Truth to Power, taken from a charge given to Eighteenth Century Friends, suggests the effort that is made to speak from the deepest insight of the Quaker faith, as this faith is understood by those who prepared this study. We speak to power in three senses:
Our truth is an ancient one: that love endures and overcomes; that hatred destroys; that what is obtained by love is retained, but what is obtained by hatred proves a burden. This truth, fundamental to the position which rejects reliance on the method of war, is ultimately a religious perception, a belief that stands outside of history.
- To those who hold high places in our national life and bear the terrible responsibility of making decisions for war or peace.
- To the American people who are the final reservoir of power in this country and whose values and expectations set the limits for those who exercise authority.
- To the idea of Power itself, and its impact on Twentieth Century life.
Here's who I'd like to write about eventually (this list will lengthen over time):
Paulo Freire (here's the site that started me writing today)
Starhawk (activism page on her website, and her Newsweek (!) column)