Campus Visitors: Ingrid Frank

Changing the World

Ingrid Frank has faced adversity all her life. A Jew, Frank fled to the United States at age 12 to escape Nazi Germany. By her early teens she was a human rights activist. In the 1960s Frank worked in the civil rights movement; she was arrested and served 10 days in a Washington, D.C., jail for participating in the “Poor People’s Campaign” of Martin Luther King Jr.

After her release, she cofounded Periscope Associates with her friend George Richardson, as “a vehicle to continue our work by creating campaigns to develop racial and social healing,” she says. Periscope markets books, films, exhibits, and special events aimed at inspiring pride in the African American community, especially among men. While its founders first hoped the organization would provide them with a modest living, that idea has taken a back seat to the exciting projects they’re developing. Their current campaign, “Let Hip Hop Heal,” spreads empowering messages across race, gender, and age lines.

Frank brought another message to the IC campus in celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Week: “How to Change the World.” Her keynote speech anchored an event that also featured local activists speaking about race healing in the community. The evening was part of a weeklong series under the theme of “Blueprint for Your Life: Be the Best of Whatever You Are,” a title taken from a speech King made in 1967 to a group of Philadelphia junior high students.

“Ingrid’s passion and her experience gave a lot of students inspiration to become active in human rights campaigns,” says MLK scholar Daiana Amieiro ’08, who attended Frank’s speech. “Whatever it may be that one wants to get involved with, there is something out there.”

Frank is writing Moments in Passing, her second book based on the events of her life. This summer she will be featured in Revolution 67, a PBS documentary about the 1967 uprisings in Newark, New Jersey.

—Alex Meril ’07

1 Comment

Ingrid Grank is an awesome woman. Her gift and compassion for inspiring right where wrong and indiference seem to have their way is truly the stuff of legend. Though I'm sure she does not know it, her spirit of healing has brought healing into my own life. Her ife is golden.