Friday, June 13, 2008

A Rare Breed

As with leadership and heroism, there are different types of courage: courage to learn, courage to change, courage of convictions. There are also different levels of courage; the Freedom Riders had courage, as did the SNCC organizers and the boycotters in apartheid Mississippi.

But the greatest courage is that displayed by those who know in advance they will have to suffer the consequences of exercising their human dignity---people like the black parents and children of Hattiesburg who helped to create Mississippi Freedom Summer, and their counterparts in the deep delta who had no official protection from the Klan and the White Citizens Councils.

Those who demonstrate the greatest courage are those we rarely hear of; they are not the ones on the covers of magazines, not the ones with foundation grants, not the ones pacified by sinecure. They are the ones who risk all just to have a decent life--a rare breed indeed.

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