Hope is a Verb, a Song Called “Anyhow”

Note: This is part of a series of short posts, in the lead-up to the election, from leaders reflecting on hope and/or resistance.

By Johari Jabir (right)

Hope is a verb, a form of action not based on feelings or what is seen in ordinary time. To hope is to advance a stubborn, aggressive optimism.  

On January 1, 1863, a large gathering of Black and white people assembled beneath a sprawling oak tree in Beaufort, South Carolina, to hear the reading of the Emancipation Proclamation. Standing on a platform behind military officers, dignitaries, and abolitionists was the nation’s first Black regiment, the 1st South Carolina Volunteers. After the proclamation was read, the regiment was presented with an American flag donated by a New York congregation. All of the ceremony and pageantry had gone along as planned, until one speaker’s comments were interrupted by an elderly Black man who stood to sing,  

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