Vincent Harding: Historian, Activist, and Advisor

23 May

Vincent Harding

Vincent Harding passed away on May 19, 2014. He was 82 and was an advisor to Martin Luther King, Jr. for ten years, and later acted as an academic series advisor on Eyes on the Prize and The Great Depression. 

Harding helped King write his speech Beyond Vietnam-A Time to Break Silence, which took a bold anti-war stance and alienated many of King’s supporters, including President Johnson. Harding was among a core group of King supporters who carried on his programs after he was assassinated.

Harding was not only a historian, but as someone who had lived through many of the pivotal events of the civil rights movement, he was an ideal person for Henry Hampton to bring into his project, Eyes on the Prize. One unique primary resource at the Film and Media Archive are educational sessions that Henry Hampton organized called “school.” These were two-week sessions that Hampton organized for Blackside producers where he invited scholars, activists, historians, and others to come and talk about their experiences. These sessions were invaluable as they gave producers an in-depth immersion into the subject matter, and a chance to talk to people who had lived through many of the events that would make up the stories of Eyes on the Prize.

Harding was a key participant in the Hampton’s “school” and  conducted sessions for Eyes on the Prize I, and II, and The Great DepressionBlackside also conducted pre-interviews with Harding for Eyes on the Prize II, and This Far by Faith, and the Film Archive holds a filmed interview Harding conducted for This Far By Faith. Some of the material only exists in audio format, but there are video sessions as well. These are unique materials that have been digitized and are available to view in the Film and Media Archive. Please contact the Film Archive for more information.




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