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Remnants: A Memoir of Spirit, Activism, and Mothering

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Home » Books » Nonfiction » Social Sciences » African-American Studies


A Memoir of Spirit, Activism, and Mothering

By Rosemarie Freeney Harding, Rachel Elizabeth Harding

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Format: Paperback, 328 pages
Other Information: 17 illustrations
Published In: United States, 15 May 2015
An activist influential in the civil rights movement, Rosemarie Freeney Harding's spirituality blended many traditions, including southern African American mysticism, Anabaptist Christianity, Tibetan Buddhism, and Afro-Brazilian Candomble. Remnants, a multigenre memoir, demonstrates how Freeney Harding's spiritual life and social justice activism were integral to the instincts of mothering, healing, and community-building. Following Freeney Harding's death in 2004, her daughter Rachel finished this decade-long collaboration, using recorded interviews, memories of her mother, and her mother's journal entries, fiction, and previously published essays.

Table of Contents

Foreword: Daughter's Precis / Rachel E. Harding ix 1. (the light) 1 I. Ground 5 2. Rye's Rites (poem) 7 3. Grandma Rye 9 4. There Was a Tree in Starkville . . . 15 5. Daddy's Mark 21 6. Joe Daniels: Getting Unruly 24 7. The Side of the Road 29 8. Papa's Girl 32 II. North 41 9. Snow and Spring in Woodlawn 43 10. Shirley Darden 52 11. Brother Bud's Death 54 12. Death, Dreams, and Secrecy: Things We Carried 57 13. Season 63 14. Elegant Cousins and Original Beauty 66 15. Warmth 71 16. Altgeld Gardens 75 17. Hot Rolls (short fiction) 82 18. Looking for Work 92 19. The Nursing Test 96 20. In Loco Parentis (short fiction) 97 21. Mama Freeney and the Haints 107 22. Height 113 III. South 115 23. Hospitality, Haints, and Healing: African American Indigenous Religion and Activism 117 24. Mennonite House in Atlanta 127 25. The Next-Door Neighbor 137 26. Traveling for the Movement 140 27. Koinonia Farm: Cultivating Conviction 144 28. A Radical Compassion: His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Clarence Jordan, and Marion King-Jackson 155 29. A Song in the Time of Dying: A Memory of Bernice Johnson Reagon 163 30. The Blood House (a story outline) 165 31. Spirit and Struggle: The Mysticism of the Movement 168 IV. The Dharamsala Notebook 179 32. Sunrise after Delhi (poem) 181 33. The Dharamsala Notebook I 182 34. The Dharamsala Notebook II 194 V. Bunting 199 35. The Bunting 201 36. The Workshops and Retreats: Ritual, Remembering, and Medicine 217 VI. The Pachamama Circle 227 37. Pachamama Circle I: Rachel's Dream 229 38. Pachamama Circle II: Sue Bailey Thurman and the Harriets 231 39. Pachamama Circle III: A Choreography of Mothering 237 40. Mama and the Gods 241 AfterWords 243 41. Fugida: Poem for Oya 245 42. Class Visits: Love, White Southerners, and Black Exceptionalism 247 43. A Little Wind 265 44. (the Call) 268 Appendix: Rosemarie's Genealogies 271 Acknowledgments 283 Index 287

About the Author

Rosemarie Freeney Harding (1930-2004) was an organizer, teacher, social worker, and cofounder of Mennonite House, an early integrated community center in Atlanta. She also cofounded the Veterans of Hope Project at the Iliff School of Theology.Rachel Elizabeth Harding, daughter of Rosemarie Freeney Harding and Vincent Harding, is Assistant Professor of Indigenous Spiritual Traditions in the Ethnic Studies Department at the University of Colorado, Denver, and author of A Refuge in Thunder: Candomble and Alternative Spaces of Blackness.


"Remnants will appeal to those who are interested in religion and social transformation. Social change advocates, justice seekers, grassroots organizers, nonviolent revolutionaries, race critical theorists, theologians, clergy, historians, womanists, ethicists, ancl educators will all find gems within Remnants.... Remnants provides hope for a better humanity." -- Dean J. Johnson * The Mennonite Quarterly Review * "Co-authored by Rachel and her late mother, [Remnants] is in its very composition both intimate and collaborative. ...It is a book of returning to the source as a resource for the future and present. There are lessons about human connection and resilience, and our capacities to be better to one another. Out of the particulars of these two lives, a window opens into Black life more broadly, in all of its complexity and interconnectedness with the vast networks of humanity." -- Imani Perry * Public Books * "[A] spirited compilation of ecumenical history, folk wisdom, fiction, memoir, and poetry. . . . The central message of Harding's life is abiding love, passed down through generations, strengthened in the aftermath of grief, racial terrorism, and trauma. The book also tells the unusual story of Mennonite House, a pioneering center of interracial activism in Atlanta co-founded by Harding and her husband, and offers other insights that shape its powerful narrative." * Publishers Weekly * "I could not put this book down. It is a work of love and a testament to the power of love between a mother and her daughter and an abiding belief in the possibilities we have to help create a more loving, humane world. This is a book of astounding beauty and wisdom. This is a memoir that encourages us to live into our best self. It is a read more than worthy of your time and will linger in your head and heart." -- Emilie M. Townes, author of * Womanist Ethics and the Cultural Production of Evil * "A unique and provocative crossover text, Rosemarie Freeney Harding and Rachel Elizabeth Harding's Remnants troubles the boundaries of authorship, of genre, of discipline, of voice and agency. It hovers at the boundaries of the sacred and secular, but knits them together in the daily lives of practitioners and communities for whom a division is untenable, unthinkable even. It impels us to think deeply about the meaning of politics and the kinds of hidden intimacies that make committed public engagement possible, without succumbing to the unhelpful public/private binary. We need the stories of the kinds that are recounted here." -- M. Jacqui Alexander, author of * Pedagogies of Crossing: Meditations on Feminism, Sexual Politics, Memory, and the Sacred * "Remnants is an extraordinary gift. It is a kind of Rosetta Stone of the African American Woman's soul-all the 'remnants,' the bits and pieces Rosemarie carefully saved, remembered, nurtured, in her ancestors, relatives, and self coming together in this extremely useful compendium of wisdom, of sureness and insight that we will be able to use for generations to come." -- Alice Walker

EAN: 9780822358794
ISBN: 0822358794
Publisher: Duke University Press
Dimensions: 22.61 x 14.99 x 1.78 centimetres (0.51 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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