MEMORIES OF GODDARD
[col. writ. 10/5/14] © ’14 Mumia Abu-Jamal
Goddard College, which began as a seminary, has stood in the shadows of Vermont’s mountains for the better part of a century.
Its bucolic surroundings lend it the air of serenity, the cool quiet of its rural, northern cities.
It was the beginning of the 1970s when I first arrived there, a young man in his latter teens, and I was stunned by the sheer beauty of the place, and its epic surroundings.
Students truly came from all walks of life, the cultural, political and social streams of movements for a multitude for social change: from civil rights to black liberation; from women’s rights to gay rights; from Africa, Asia, the Caribbean; to cities across America, they came to dwell, and to learn in a place quite unlike any other place; Goddard College - in Plainfield, Vermont.
When I first came I was part of the Third World Studies program, where students came from across the Black World: Africa, the West Indies, South America, Boston, Harlem, Baltimore and Philadelphia.
Our head of the program, the late Professor Calvin Hicks, was (although we didn’t know it at the time) a serious activist himself, who, with the late Maya Angelou and others, held a protest at the heart of the UN, to demonstrate against the U.S. - assisted imperial killing of Congo’s first post-colonial African President, Patrice Lumumba.
At Goddard, he settled into the quiet, intense role of academic and administrator, with pipe in hand.
To meet people, literally from around the world, was a rich and rewarding experience.
Many years later, I dream of its verdant hills, its fresh green life, its sounds and its open, welcoming campus.
I thank Goddard for allowing me to attend, and many years later, to graduate.
I thank them too, for their recent invitation, to speak before their latest graduating class.