Leading from the Left

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

End of An Era

In the past few years we've lost Joe and Lucy Straley, Charlotte Adams, and Joe Herzenberg. And now we learn Rebecca Clark has died.  I was struck yesterday that our community, with Rebecca's passing, has closed a chapter in our history.  Our old civil rights & civil liberties fighters of 50's-80's are largely gone.  

They defined Chapel Hill progressivism and were our voice to the world.  They spoke of hope, of equality, of charity, of progressive values.  The spoke against war in Vietnam and American imperialism in Central America and Cuba.  They championed death penalty reform, voter registration reform, gay rights, desegregation, the ERA, freedom of speech and liberty in all her forms.  They were largely shaped by Roosevelt and the New Deal, Kennedy and King.  They, in turn, shaped us and shaped our community's reputation in the South.  

I thought I would be sad when I learned of Rebecca's death.  I am not.  Rather, I am grateful.  Grateful that she and so many others dedicated their lives to creating a 'new deal' for the those of us who make Orange County and North Carolina home.