Thursday, February 9, 2017

I Remember When….

 

I remember when we were afraid to walk across campus at a rural Tennessee college.  Afraid the football team and the ROTC would attack us. We were a small group of mostly sociology majors who had formed a club called “Peace and Human Rights Alliance.”   It was 1970 and college kids protesting at Kent State had just been murdered.

I remember fear and divisiveness: the nation torn apart with differing political views.  It was more about young verses old, white against black, women’s rights, equal pay, the environment.  Long hair versus short hair.  There were probably some protesting for gay rights but not in my rural south location.

There were protests against the war all through my high school years.  There were demonstrations for civil rights.   I remember the television at night full of protests and scenes of battles from Vietnam.

I remember going to D.C. to protest the war and being afraid of the protesters after seeing broken storefront windows.  I did not march.  Stayed indoors where it was safe as I believed in a peaceful protest!

I also remember a different time in society.  A time where women and girls were expected to wear dresses and panty hose.  Hair was set in rollers at night.  One does not go out without being perfectly coiffed. Pants or jeans were not allowed!  Still remember the scandal in our small southern town when the Methodist women started wearing pantsuits to church on Sunday nights!

Women were encouraged to major in education.  The teaching profession was an acceptable career path as they could be with their children after school.  Women were supposed to look pretty and not think or speak of business or political matters  The weaker sex must be protected or beat into submission by their husbands.

I remember hearing about backstreet procedures where terrified, desperate college friends risked death when they unfortunately became “knocked up”.

From my grade school years I remember seeing water fountains with “colored” signs.  I remember the first blacks to enter our school.  It was the fall of 1965 and there were only two of them.  So brave!

I remember being told by my family that the “colored people”  were just being stirred up by those who were speaking out for their rights.  And remember the reaction I received from my northern classmates when I repeated my families stance. I remember the “n” word being the commonly used noun by my grandfather.

I remember when we threw trash out the window of the car without a thought. I remember when puppies and kittens were tied in a bag and drowned or shot in the head.

I remember being told that I would go to hell and burn in the fires forever and FOREVER  if I did not believe in Jesus.  I was 9 years old.

I remember injustice, inhumanity and long periods of turbulence.

But our nation has survived and matured.

It may take many, many years but we will get through this time of horrible divisions.  And good will come, rightness will win, eventually.

Change and growth do not always go in an upward spiral.  Sometimes, for awhile, things go backward.

But I have hope.  We, the people, will not allow tyranny, dictatorships or suppression of free speech to become the norm.  And I take heart, trying to remember there is good in the worst of us and bad in the best of us.  We are alike, not monsters, and we would do well to remember civility.

Thanks for reading this. The travel blog will continue soon.

6 comments:

  1. Nicely said!!! I remember those times as well.

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  2. I did that march in the streets in DC. I remember marching at the nearest large university. I remember our high school psych teacher taking us to all kinds of demonstrations against the war. I liked your post but one thing I see different is todays violence is much different and financially backed by powerful people further than the left. The undercurrent in these times are much different than what we experienced in the late 60's.

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  3. Really nice reminders...I experienced a lot of that too. I really feel we're spiralling backwards once again, now again controlled by greed and racism to name a few. I took the road to the Woman's March and this pink hat headed nasty woman can't wait until human rights, love for the earth, and the little guy takes center stage again. COZYGIRL from South AL! Next...where you headed next? Miss those days!

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  4. Nicely said,I also remember those days as I remember the sacrifices those protesters made to stop the war and to end racism and now as the present regime tries to take all that away we need to make our voices heard again. It is not a time to sit idly by.

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  5. Lynne - you write so well. We too remember these times.
    You are so right - sometimes we have either to go backwards or too far to the other side of the goal to reach it. It's part of the pathway and a work in progress.
    Hope you are having wonderful adventures in the sun, and we are looking forward to the next travel bit!

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  6. Well said Lynne! The arc of history is long - hard to remember that sometimes in the heat of the moment.
    I remember telling the police (who I had been told were there to protect me) about death threats I had received when I was protesting for gay rights; I remember being told that the police couldn't do anything until the threat was actually acted on - and that the police hoped that the guy was a good shot.

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