More about Remnants
Remnants is a literary, multi-genre exploration of the role of spirituality and compassion in African American activism—drawn from stories of Rosemarie Freeney Harding’s life, from her ancestral traditions of healing, and from her work with companions in the Southern Freedom Movement. Rosemarie and her husband, historian Vincent Harding, were representatives of the Mennonite Church to the movement and traveled throughout the South in the early 1960s as an advance team for civil rights organizations preparing to launch major desegregation campaigns. The Hardings were friends of Martin and Coretta King and worked with SCLC and SNCC from their base at Mennonite House in Atlanta, Georgia.
But Rosemarie’s lifelong organizing work was deeply informed by an extended family that migrated from Georgia to Chicago in the 1920s, carrying powerful traditions of mystic and healing spirituality. Her mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother were root women, midwives, and philosophers with a broad and inclusive sense of justice and community. Following the movement years, Rosemarie deepened her own commitments to interconnected social justice struggles and further developed an ecumenical spiritual practice that included Islam, Buddhism, and contemplative Christianity.
Remnants integrates scholarship, memoir, and creative writing. After Rosemarie died in 2004, her daughter, Rachel, created the text from instructions, recorded interviews, Rosemarie’s journal entries, and previously published essays, and from a lifetime of kitchen-table conversations with her mother. Remnants is fundamentally about spirit, compassion, and family—recognizing how these elements fed Rosemarie’s life as an activist and how they offer vital lessons and encouragement to readers of all kinds.