Left-wing activist Tom Hayden, who died Sunday at age 76, once told an interviewer of his reluctant transformation from journalist to activist after an encounter with Martin Luther King Jr.

“Whether he meant to or not,” Hayden said of King, “he started me questioning whether I should keep writing about these things for my career or whether I should shut my notebook and join the picket line. … I eventually found it possible to do both. But the effect was enormous and gradual.”

“I wasn’t born an activist,” he continued. “It was a very gradual process begun in reluctance and continued in reluctance.”

Hayden’s remarks are preserved by the Activist Video Archive. AVA wrote in an email to Truthdig:

The Activist Video Archive is a project of filmmakers Julie M. Thompson and Brogan de Paor pulling together three essential threads from their lives; history; progressive political organizing and film/video as a means of storytelling.

The premise of the Activist Video Archive is to preserve the history of activists and create a multicultural archive of those involved in progressive movements for social change from the Labor Movement and Spanish Civil War of the early 20th Century to present day organizing.

Here is AVA’s full interview with Hayden:

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly

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