Sepia Saturday challenges bloggers to share family history through old photographs.
This week’s Sepia Saturday prompt is a tribute to the International Day of Peace and to Peace Education.
Growing up in the 60s and 70s, I was well aware of both violent and peaceful demonstrations supporting civil rights and women’s rights and opposing the war in Vietnam. Love-ins and Sit-ins were common enough as people sought to advance their cause through non-violent means.
My freshman year in college awakened me to the world of liberal thinking. Freedom of speech. Freedom of expression. Do your own thing. These were new guideposts on the road to becoming an adult, an educated thinker, a positive force in making the world a better place.
In 1970 I had a chance to do just that. When several of the “hippie” professors in the English department went on the chopping block, students rallied in their defense. A sit-in in Wilson Hall would surely get the attention of the president, the deans, the Board of Visitors, and anyone else who could reverse a stupid decision not to renew their contracts.
I made up my mind to join in. I admired my hippie English professor with his long hair and beard and his choice to wear cowboy boots and a cape to class. I managed to laugh when he showed up one afternoon with bloodshot eyes and wrote “Connery O’Flanner” on the board. That didn’t matter. He was brilliant. I would defend his rights.
Eh. Who was I kidding? Since my dormmates took no interest, I wasn’t about to go by myself. I was shy. I was also Chicken. Yep. That’s me all day. But thank goodness for that yellow streak because the non-violent protestors who refused to leave Wilson Hall were promptly arrested and charged with trespassing.
Oh, my parents would have snatched me bald-headed had I been carted downtown and fingerprinted.
Fast forward to the late 1970s. I marched in peaceful protest. And my mother marched with me (although she would have been appalled at my thoughts of doing such a thing ten years previous to that). We were both teachers for Portsmouth Public Schools. Our beef? What else – pay!
|Momma carried a sign: "Excuses Don't Pay Bills"|
That's moi to her right.
Don’t ask me what the specific issues were. I can’t remember. Probably we had gone several years with no pay raise. But that year we had had enough and we weren’t going to take it anymore. The teachers were united. We were committed to walking out of the classroom if City Council and the School Board didn’t pay attention and come through with more money.
We must have gotten a little something because we didn’t have to walk out. Democracy in action!
This past school year, my nephew Joel likewise made the newspaper marching as a teacher for Portsmouth Public Schools.
|Colonel Crawford leads students across High Street.|
A Union soldier stops traffic.
Joel Pollock with his signature Top-Siders and sunglasses walks with his students.
The old newspaper clipping of his aunt and grandmother taking a stand is displayed on the bulletin board of Joel’s social studies classroom at Churchland Middle School. Now he has his own newspaper clipping of the day HE crossed the road. Perfect bookends.
For now, Peace Out!
Momma, Mary Jollette and Moi
I don't know why we're on our knees!
I invite you to make your way peacefully to Sepia Saturday.