An Aboriginal activist and respected community leader, Noel Pearson came from the Guugu Yimithirr Aboriginal community at Hope Vale, a Lutheran Mission on Cape York Peninsula. He graduated with an honours degree in history from the University of Sydney. His honours thesis focused on the history of the Hope Vale Lutheran Mission from 1900-1950. Pearson completed a law degree in 1993.
In 1990 Pearson co-founded the Cape York Land Council where he was Executive Director until he resigned in 1996. He was also a legal advisor for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission. He continues to advise a number of Indigenous organisations in Cape York, and advocates self-determination and land rights for Indigenous people.
Noel Pearson's 2009 essay 'Radical Hope', published in Quarterly Essay, was shortlisted for the 2010 John Button Prize. In 2015, Pearson had been name a Vice-Chancellor's Fellow of the University of Melbourne.
Pearson, Noel 2014, A Rightful Place : Race, Recognition and a More Complete Commonwealth, Collingwood, Vic. Black Inc. Books.
'Up from the Mission charts the life and thought of Noel Pearson, from his early days as a native title lawyer to his position today as one of Australia's most influential figures.
'This is writing of great passion and power, which introduces a fascinating man and a compelling writer. Many of the pieces included have been hard to find until now. Gathered together in a cohesive, broad-ranging book, they show a key Australian thinker coming into being.
'Pearson evokes his early life in Hope Vale, Queensland. He includes sections of his epoch-making essay Our Right To Take Responsibility, which exposed the trap of passive welfare and proposed new ways forward. There are pieces on the apology; on Barack Obama and black leadership; on Australian party politics - Keating, Howard and Rudd; and on alcoholism, despair and what can be done to mend Aboriginal communities that have fallen apart.' (Publisher's blurb)