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Six Spirit Led Activists Worth Knowing


Rev. Barber addresses state legislators at a Moral Mondays protest in 2013

By Marta Rusek

Seeking inspiration as you advocate for causes you care about? These selections about or written by spirit-led activists are must-reads for Friends and readers looking for role models who weren't afraid to take action in the name of their faith.



Valiant Friend: The Life of Lucretia Mott by Margaret Hope Bacon

Known as “the most venerated woman in America,” Lucretia Mott was a Quaker minister, an antislavery leader, and a fearless crusader for women’s rights. Learn about Lucretia’s progression from the devoted daughter of a Hicksite Quaker family in New England to a fiery social reformer in Philadelphia who refused to let physical ailments prevent her from traveling around the country to proclaim equal rights for women everywhere.

You may also like: Mothers of Feminism (eBook)



Bayard Rustin: The Invisible Activist by Jacqueline Houtman, Walter Naegle, and Michael G. Long

Many people know about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his role in the Civil Rights Movement. Few know about Bayard Rustin, the a life-long human rights activist forced to work behind the scenes of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and other historic civil rights campaigns due to his status as gay man. Written with elementary school-age audiences in mind, The Invisible Activist is an in-depth look at a smart, dedicated man who stayed true to his Quaker roots throughout his life and struggles.

You may also like: Black Fire: African American Quakers on Spirituality and Human Rights



Let this Life Speak - The Legacy of Henry Joel Cadbury

Let This Life Speak: The Legacy of Henry Joel Cadbury by Margaret Hope Bacon

Dr. Cadbury, a graduate of Haverford College, was a prolific writer and staunch anti-war activist who stood up for the marginalized and forgotten in society. In 1947, Cadbury accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of American Friends Service Committee, an organization he co-founded in 1917.

You may also like: Henry J. Cadbury: Scholar, Activist, Disciple (Pendle Hill Pamphlet #376)



The Third Reconstruction by the Reverend Dr. William J. Barber II

The Third Reconstruction: Moral Mondays, Fusion Politics, and the Rise of a New Justice Movement by Reverend Dr. William J. Barber II

In the summer of 2013, Rev. Dr. William J. Barber led a revival meeting on the state house lawn every Monday for 13 weeks, bringing together activists, educators, the unemployed, the undocumented, and concerned citizens of all ages in protest of the North Carolina state government’s anti-democratic policies. In The Third Reconstruction, Rev. Barber describes the seven years that led up to Moral Mondays, and what the Third Reconstruction means for us all.

You may also like: Forward Together: A Moral Message for the Nation



 Buy Rising to the Challenge by Ruah Swennerfelt now

Rising to the Challenge: The Transition Movement and People of Faith by Ruah Swennerfelt

Ruah Swennerfelt, a Friend active in Vermont’s Transition Charlotte and former General Secretary of Earthcare Quaker Witness, offers a strong case for transitioning to a low-carbon future as a spiritual practice. Rising to the Challenge examines the history of the Transition Movement and includes interviews with spirit-led members of the Transition Movement from Europe, Brazil and the United States.

You may also like: How Does Societal Transformation Happen



 Waging Peace by David Hartsough. Available for purchase at QuakerBooks.org

Waging Peace: Global Adventures of a Lifelong Advocate by David Hartsough

If you've ever wondered if one person can make a difference, give Waging Peace a look. Part memoir, part nonviolence pep talk, Waging Peace chronicles activist David Hartsough's 60-year quest for peace, from the shores of Vietnam to Castro's Cuba and beyond.

You may also like: The Intrepid Quaker: One Man's Quest for Peace


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