Abolitionists Resolve


Elizabeth Ann Eckford attempts to attend Little Rock Central High School in spite of verbal and physical abuse by pro-segregation activists. Photo by Will Counts. Courtesy Arkansas.com.

Happy New Year! I received some very helpful advice from a friend about why most New Year’s resolutions fail.  Being a big fan of self-improvement I had, until 2013, spent many New Year’s Eves crafting checklists about what I wanted to accomplish. These lengthy lists of tasks and achievements were my definition of the successful life.  Creating these supposedly new visions were an ineffective distraction from the misery I felt about not achieving everything on the previous year’s list.

My friend explained to me that the problem with New Year’s resolutions is we all need to resolve more than once per year to achieve the lives, relationships and communities we envision for ourselves.  We need to make tiny resolutions everyday—to be kind, to be mindful, to make time for our well-being.  I tried that approach in 2013.  I ended the year more peaceful and more connected to others than I have ever felt.

It is this kind of everyday resolve that has been crucial to the success of anti-racist activism.  Of course, the courage of people like Elizabeth Ann Eckford and the rest of the Little Rock Nine, who volunteered to be the first Black students to attend the previously segregated Central High School, should be applauded.  However behind the scenes, parents and neighbors did what they could to support these students and the broader cause of civil rights. This community’s abolitionist mindset required new resolutions every morning to put their beliefs in a more just society behind their own convenience and sometimes safety.

This month on our blog, The Progress, we celebrate the resolve of abolitionists past and present.  If you refuse to settle for less than complete racial equality and full enjoyment of human rights for everyone, Progressive Pupil salutes you.  Cheers to an emancipated 2014.

Yours in Solidarity,


Robin J. Hayes, PhD

Principal Organizer

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