George Lakey at Harvard Book Store
Dancing with History:
A Life for Peace and Justice
May 24, 2023
7:00 PM ET
Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138
This event is free; no tickets are required.
Harvard Book Store welcomes lifelong activist GEORGE LAKEY for a discussion of his new memoir Dancing with History: A Life for Peace and Justice.
A Return to In-Person Events
Harvard Book Store is excited to be back to in-person programming. To ensure the safety and comfort of everyone in attendance, the following Covid-19 safety protocols will be in place at all of our Harvard Book Store events until further notice:
- Face coverings are required of all staff and attendees when inside the store. Masks must snugly cover nose and mouth.
About Dancing with History
From his first arrest in the Civil Rights era to his most recent during a climate justice march at the age of 83, George Lakey has committed his life to a mission of building a better world through movements for justice. Lakey draws readers into the center of history-making events, telling often serious stories with playfulness and intimacy. In this memoir, he describes the personal, political, and theoretical—coming out as bisexual to his Quaker community while known as a church leader and family man, protesting against the war in Vietnam by delivering medical supplies through the naval blockade in the South China Sea, and applying his academic study of nonviolent resistance to creative tactics in direct action campaigns.
From strategies he learned as a young man facing violence in the streets to risking his life as an unarmed bodyguard for Sri Lankan human rights lawyers, Lakey recounts his experience living out the tension between commitment to family and mission. Drawing strength from his community to fight cancer, survive painful parenting struggles, and create networks to help prevent activist burnout, this book shows readers how to find hope in even the darkest times through strategic, joyful activism.
Praise for Dancing with History
"George Lakey stands out for the sheer range of his contributions to peace and justice, especially in strategy and theory, organizing, innovative and risky actions, and teaching and training others. His upbeat, soul-driven spirit underlies it all, as you’ll catch in this revealing memoir." —Daniel Ellsberg, former U.S. military analyst who released The Pentagon Papers in 1971, peace activist and author
"Almost no one I can think of has made better use of their time on earth—and George Lakey just keeps going. This book is equal parts illuminating and inspiring!" —Bill McKibben, author of The Flag, the Cross, and the Station Wagon: A Graying American Looks Back at His Suburban Boyhood and Wonders What the Hell Happened
"This is a rare memoir that not only engages the reader, but forces one to think about how we can be more effective agents for change. Lakey was well ahead of his time on many of the seminal political struggles since the 1950s, but he repeatedly emphasizes that being right is not enough—you also have to think strategically. For example, while committed to pacifism as a personal ethic, he also acknowledges the critical importance of recognizing the strategic advantages of nonviolent action. And his stories underscore the importance that nonviolent action campaigns be as well-planned, creative, and tactical as military or electoral campaigns." —Stephen Zunes, The Progressive
“I have been waiting for years for George Lakey to write a memoir. Now it has arrived, and we are blessed with his reflections on a career that weaves through an improbably expansive list of the last century’s major social movements, recounting George’s contributions to civil rights, anti-war, pro-democracy, LGBTQ liberation, labor, and environmental causes. This book is a marvelous account of a life filled with organizing for peace, justice, and freedom. It has been well worth the wait." —Mark Engler, journalist and co-author of This Is an Uprising: How Nonviolent Revolt Is Shaping the Twenty-First Century
Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 2 minutes
As you exit the station, reverse your direction and walk east along Mass. Ave. in front of the Cambridge Savings Bank. Cross Dunster St. and proceed along Mass. Ave for three more blocks. You will pass Au Bon Pain, JP Licks, and TD Bank. Harvard Book Store is located at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Plympton St.
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