More than 100 people gathered to celebrate the legacy of activist, writer and educator Della Hardman in Ocean Park on Saturday afternoon.

Khalil Gibran Muhammad introduced Ms. Anderson. — Maria Thibodeau

The 13th annual Della Hardman Day featured Carol Anderson, author of the bestseller White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide, as the keynote speaker.

“This is a prescient person,” said Khalil Gibran Muhammad, professor of history, race and public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School who introduced Ms. Anderson on Saturday, a blustery, drizzly day. “She wrote [White Rage] before Donald Trump secured the Republican nomination, and long before he won the presidency. She also wrote White Rage before Van Jones coined whitelash to describe the racist backlash of the alt right and their not-so-silent majoritarian counterparts.”

Ms. Anderson detailed how the media has seized upon images of black turmoil, including in Ferguson, Mo. “We are so drawn to the fire, to the flames, that we miss the kindling,” she said. “While there was so much focus in on black rage, we missed all of the policies that had systematically undermined African Americans’ access to their citizenship rights.”

Using Ferguson as an example, Ms. Anderson detailed public policy directives that stripped black citizens of their civil rights. About policing, she said: “They weren’t there to protect and serve. Their policies saw that black community as revenue generators. They preyed on that community, extracted as many resources out of that community as they could.” She posed the question:

“Although it sounds facile when I talk about what black achievement does, think about it this way, how else do we explain government after government after government that fought so hard to keep black children from getting a quality education?”

Guests gathered under a tent in Ocean Park on a blustery, drizzly day. — Maria Thibodeau

But Saturday was a day to celebrate the tireless work of Della Hardman, who made a difference in ways too numerous to count. Her signature phrase, Savor the Moment, has become an enduring theme for the day named in her memory. Ms. Anderson said: “Throughout our histories there are these women, the unsungs, who just get in there and do the work, they do the work of community, they do the work of healing, they do the work of empowering, they do the work of education, they do the work of imagining,” she said. “They do that work. And if you read through the life of Della Hardman, that’s what you see, the power of a strong black woman.”

Ms. Hardman’s grandson, Wole Coaxum, agreed. “There are some people whose shoulders you stand on, and I think we’re standing on her shoulders,” he said. “There are people in the past who inspired us, and they were the workers who really helped move the movement forward, my grandmother was a part of that, and so we’re the beneficiaries of that today.”

Many who attended the event Saturday said they were inspired by Ms. Hardman. “She was always positive. And that’s what I think people have to work towards today, even in the face of things that are challenging to human rights and to civil rights, is when you start giving up, is when you lose,” said Charlayne Hunter-Gault, a longtime friend of Ms. Hardman. “So as we used to say back in the day, we used to say, you’ve got to keep on keeping on.”

Andrea Taylor, Ms. Hardman’s daughter, offered additional advice through her mother’s eyes: “I invite you to take a deep breath, look around, enjoy this wonderful place, refresh and renew, and go out and be prepared to tackle new challenges, and some familiar challenges, but to always savor the moment.”