Thursday, November 20, 2014

Howard Thurman (1899-1981): With Head and Heart ~ Take I

Just about finished reading With Head and Heart: The Autobiography of Howard Thurman (originally published in 1981). What a life! What an arc!  

He's looking up and seeing Halley's Comet in the year 1910. Around the same time, a traveling salesman is peddling "comet pills" to save you from comet-crashing-infernos. . .

Hungry, resourceful and often on the move, Howard makes friends with librarians wherever he goes -- and reads as many books as he can at all times when not writing his own. Like Frederick Douglass, he is propelled by the initial ability to read, and thereby to ponder, and thereby to kick out the jams, and thereby to bust another move way on down the line. . .

He outflanks segregation time and again, raising consciousness -- his own and that of those he encounters -- along the way.

Thanks to one act of kindness by a good Samaritan, he's able to take a train with luggage and some food . . . on to Morehouse College in Atlanta; later to Rochester, New York and Roanoke, Virginia; King's Mountain, North Carolina; Oberlin, Ohio; Howard University, District of Columbia; to India and meetings with poets, writers and Gandhi (in 1936, mind you); to San Francisco and the Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples in the very midst of the Second World War; to Boston University; to the Middle East and Africa; and back to San Francisco . . . almost all this time during the segregated/American Apartheid/Jim Crow years . . .

Thurman's thinking-journeying is advanced and inspiring for any age or time -- including the 21st century. 

"In my mind, religion had become so identified with sectarianism, and its essence so distorted by it, that I felt a need to bring to bear all the resources of mind and spirit on the oneness of the human quest. . . the human situation, the human predicament, the human plight" (1st edition, pages 199-200).

You read this, you want to do things, and communicate them.

Today's Rune: Fertility. 

1 comment:

Charles Gramlich said...

"comet pills." Oh My God. The gimmicks people will get up to