Teach Us that Peace

teach us that peace

Piscataqua Press


Edward had left the sidewalk and was walking toward the entrance. Some of the protesters were lying on the ground while others were being carried into patrol wagons and buses. They hung limply in the officers’ arms, dolls stuffed with spirit. The white people who were chanting had changed their words: “Two, four, six, eight—we still want to segregate.” A man spat on a Negro minister who was lying on the ground. Another white man slapped the spitter on the back. They both laughed.

In their white T-shirts and greased-back hair, Arthur saw, they weren’t anything out of the ordinary. Maybe that was the point. Arthur’s textbooks were always telling stories about famous people doing famous things, but meanwhile the world was full of people like these guys. They were having a ball, elbowing each other, grinning and pointing at the minister, who was still prone. They didn’t even seem angry.

Arthur kept walking back and forth with his sign. He felt hopeful. He looked once more at the guys standing by the minister. He felt hopeless. He was doing something that needed to be done. He was doing something futile.

The eye of the harrowing, uplifting storm had come to Baltimore. He paused and listened. Above the jeers and songs, he could make out another sound: people on the rollercoaster. Their shouts echoed with fear and joy.

© Baron Wormser