Howard Fuller’s Controversial Past
Howard Fuller is famous today as a hero of the school choice movement, but few people know of his role in the 60s in the civil rights struggle in Durham, North Carolina.
Fuller had his critics, and some of them are still his critics. Durham’s mayor during the period insists that Fuller “has a proclivity for vexation,” and “became a somewhat disruptive presence in the city and on the Duke University campus.”
But Fuller continues to have fans in Durham. An historian of the black community in Durham, Kelly Bryant, says that “He made a tremendous contribution to getting us together.”
Fuller’s 60s attraction to Marxist and black-nationalist ideologies might seem mildly embarrassing in 2006. But then, being a bit of a rabble rouser doesn’t sound as dangerous and subversive today as it did to people then — given that we now know how little real threat the 60s radicals posed to fundamental American institutions.
Certainly, Fuller’s passion for helping the people at the bottom of the social power structure hasn’t dimmed with age.