Sunday, April 09, 2006
The First three stories
Here are the first three stories on nonviolence I found
African-American activist and comedian Dick Gregory tells of the time, shortly after desegregation, that he entered a formally all-white restaurant and ordered fried chicken.
Just before he began his meal, three big white men approached him and said, "Nigger, whatever you do to that chicken, we're gonna do to you." Gregory put down his utensils, picked up the chicken, and kissed it. The three men backed away immediately.(Some folks add that the particular part of the chicken he kissed also had something to do with the situation.)
On Feb. 28, 1943, two dozen women gathered at what had been a Jewish Community Center on Rose Street in Berlin. The women were Gentiles who were married to Jewish men. Their husbands, along with hundreds of other Jews, were being held at the Rose Street Center to await transfer to Auschwitz concentration camp. The crowd, that February 28, slowly grew until about 1,000 people were in the street. "Give us back our men," the women shouted. The women refused orders to leave. On March 4, SS troops set up machine guns, aimed them at the women, and ordered the street cleared. The women stood their ground. Six days after the protest began, without explanation, Joseph Goebbels ordered the release of the 1,500 prisoners inside the center on Rose Street. Twenty-five prisoners already en route to Auschwitz were returned.
In 1965, in Birmingham, Alabama, when hundreds of the leaders of the Civil Rights movement were in jail, their children came to the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., and said to him, "Our parents are in jail, but we can march in their place."
Dr. King initially was resistant to the idea, knowing what a risk there was involved. He was uneasy about having innocent children fighting such an adult battle, a battle that all too often resulted in violence. But the children insisted.
They began marching and were met by Bull Conner, the head of the white police force, and his entire guard -- armed with power hoses and dogs and billy clubs. The children were turned back a number of times, but they didn't give up.
One day they marched up to the wall of armed police, kneeled down in front of them and prayed out loud for the police officers. The police officers' hardened hearts were softened enough that they let the children through. Dr. King saw a police officer wipe a tear from his eye. Dr. King wrote that this was the first time he had witnessed the incredible power of revolutionary love and nonviolence.