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September 07, 1968 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1968-09-07

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Saturday, September 7, 1968

THE MICHIGAN DAILY Saturday, September 7, 1968

By DAVID WEIR and t .
The resounding baritone voice of Bruce Thomas carried
across the diag massed with faces. The faces were predomi-,
nantly white and predominantly young.
Thomas' face was black and tired-looking. His words were
"You have to decide what your life is and what you're
going to do with it," he told the student faces. "And the way
to do something with it is to involve yourself in the problems
of your community. Just going to school and getting a degree
doesn't make you a person. You've got to do something."
Many of the faces didn't seem to hear what Thomas said.
They wandered away from the diag before the rest of the
speakers had finished.
But the impact of Thomas' speech remained with many
of us. During the long march to the County'Building; during
the four-hour sit-in; during the bus ride to City Hall; we
kept remembering that we were trying to do something for f
the welfare mothers whose children need clothes for school.' r
But there were times when we didn't think about much.
but ourselves and the cops. When the first battery of copsch l i eol....r.
came hurtling into the County Building lobby with their riot .
clubs held high, it was hard to remember that we were doing .
something for the welfare mothers.
And when the cops slammed us into the doors of the
County Building as we were "escorted" outit was hard to
remember that we were doing something for the welfare
mothers.,.. ....
And when the cops ripped our shirts and threw us into
the doorrof the bus and we screamed "pigs, pigs, pigs" it was
hard to remember that we were doing something. for the wel-
fare mothers.
And when we were huddling in
the damp cold rooms in the base- : -
ment of City Hall, waiting to be
to remember that we were doing
sometl'ng for the welfare moth-
ers. 4
But it was at these times that
we found out what it is like to
^hbe a welfare mother.
It hadn't been very difficult to
carry signs around ; the County
Building Thursday afternoon, or
to verbally support the welfare
mothers when talking among our-
selves. We knew that we support-
ed their demands and were sym-Y :
pathetic to their problems. f
It wasn't until we saw the cops'
faces and felt their grip and smell-
ed their' breath that we under- - -%,.
..{a "..,:"" stood how it feels to be black and
poor and hated. We saw police
not with the rosy cheeks and
Pepsident smiles of our grade
school readers, but with faces
filledwith barely restrained anger,
k and hate.
We felt a great deal of solidar-
ity among ourselves during the
whole show. Still there was a feel-
ing of individuality; that we were
doing this thing each in his own
way and each for his own purpose.
We had intended to "sit in the ~
County Building until the Mothers
get their demands," but we didn't.
We could say we tried, but that
doesn't matter, since we knew
from the beginning that this
wouldn't be allowed.
And getting arrested doesn't get
raincoats for children.
But we made a commitment. It
wasn't raincoats and it wasn't
shoes. Rather, it was a repudia-
tion of the "freedom'" guaranteed
1wn hut denied others hv the

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