Staughton and Alice Lynd (copyright 1990)
Not only in the lengthening of days
And the return of springtime,
But in sudden reversals,
We believe in the restoration
Of trust between friends,
And in the ability of ordinary folk
To puncture lies.
We believe in the way to be safe
Is not to enclose ourselves in walls
Of cash and property,
But to live in solidarity
With those who need us.
How can we give the Good
More chance to prevail?
What can we add
To the chemistry of change?
Surely, first, persistence.
Prisoners are obliged to learn it.
How many times did Nelson Mandela
Reach for his shovel in the limestone quarry?
Soon Mumia will have been behind bars
More than Mandela's 27 years.
"Keep smiling," we told
The man serving two life sentences
For crimes of which he may be
He replied "I have to.
But inside my heart is broken."
So, while we ask to persist,
To be dogged, to stay strong,
We must also be open every moment
To that which only yesterday
Of quantity into quality,
To the instantaneous advent
Of the unimaginably new.
The good we secure for ourselves
Is precarious and uncertain
Until it is secured for all of us
And incorporated into our common life.
taught history at Spelman College and Yale University
. He was active in the civil rights movements. In April 1965, he chaired the first march against the Vietnam War in Washington. In December 1965 he made a controversial trip to Hanoi, in hope of clarifying the peace terms of the Vietnamese government and the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam.
Because of his practice of civil disobedience, Lynd was unable to continue as a full-time history teacher. He was offered positions at Universities in Chicago but the offers were withdrawn by University administrators. He became a lawyer in 1976 and worked for Legal Services in Youngstown, Ohio until his retirement in 1996. After retirement he continues to practice employment law and defend and protect workers' and prisoners' rights.
An interview with the Lynds is here.