“You have to know the past to understand the present.”
I couldn’t understand the racial deaths of last week. How did they happen here?
I’ve traveled around the world and seen some things that are still painful to recall. But not in my nation.
Thinking about the Carl Sagan quote above, I remembered a photograph of women suffrages peacefully standing in front of the White House. Nonviolent protest, that’s what I would research. Years before Martin Luther King said, “Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon.”
Then I found out about the Night of Terror.
It happened on November 14th, 1917.
Thirty-three suffragists were arrested for picketing in front of the White House. The women were then brutally tortured. They chained Lucy Burns to a cell bar above her head and beat her, leaving her there all night. They shoved Dora Lewis into her cell with such force she hit her head on an iron bed frame and fell unconscious. Her cellmate, thinking that Lewis had died, had a heart attack. They grabbed, they choked, they kicked the women, including one 73-year old protester.
This happened to women who were fighting for the right to vote, something I take for granted today. In an effort to advance their beliefs, these women endured torture in my country.
Maybe we have a history of violence but we forget it.
I know we all have ideas about last week’s events. I know I do, even before the investigations are completed. And maybe you and I disagree.
But we can all agree that violence is not the answer. We have violence in our past, but we don’t need it in the present.