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Praise for Gather Your Light

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Ken Woodley provides a powerful insider's account of the struggle to establish Virginia's Brown v. Board of Education Scholarship Program, an educational reparations program devoted to providing academic opportunities for those denied an education by their own elected officials during the Massive Resistance years. Probing the nature of reconciliation and the still-open wounds of racially motivated school closings, Woodley powerfully reminds readers that real apologies demand some form of tangible action, and that while the past cannot be changed, the present most certainly can.
Talk about speaking truth to power! As the editor of a small-town, family-owned newspaper, Ken Woodley crusaded for decades to get his community to renounce its past devotion to segregation, a cause that had been championed by his paper. Driven by deep spirituality and tenacious resolve, Woodley not only succeeded, but convinced the Virginia legislature to pay reparations to the victims. The Road to Healing tells this remarkable story.
As someone who was directly and indirectly affected by the shameful history in Prince Edward County, I truly believe God sent Ken Woodley as one of his shepherds to heal the racial divide and help us move towards reconciliation. The Road to Healing is a gripping account -- candid and informed -- of Woodley’s efforts to right a terrible wrong in the wake of what happened in Virginia in the years between 1951 and 1964. An emotional, powerful must-read!
Some true stories surpass fiction in their ability to amaze, to inspire, and to impose symmetry on a chaotic world. Ken Woodley’s work to bring racial healing to Prince Edward County, Virginia, is one such story. That this small-town newspaper editor did so much good occupying a seat where so much destruction was once sown is a kind of miracle.
"'Reparation' is a buzzword—a loaded one—even in the case of educations lost for victims of Virginia’s monstrous campaign of Massive Resistance of 60 years ago, the goal of which was to defeat the integration of public schools. But as Ken Woodley, a local newspaper editor, tells in The Road to Healing, a plan to provide scholarships to compensate for a five-year shutdown of these schools helped spur racial reconciliation in the state’s Prince Edward County, thus proving the value of such efforts. This remarkable book describes both an important episode in our civil rights history and also how enlightened leadership helped heal the wounds it caused."
The Road to Healing details one of the most despicable episodes of government-sponsored racism ever to mar the reputation of our country. You should care because the events in Virginia happened just sixty years ago—rather than allow black students to attend public schools in Prince Edward County, officials closed the schools. The story turns hopeful in 2004 when newspaper editor Ken Woodley led efforts to create state-funded scholarships for African-American students. This miraculous program is thought to be the nation’s first act of Civil-Rights era reparation.
A riveting new book, The Road to Healing is required reading for anyone who wants to understand one of the saddest chapters in Virginia history. A poignant story.