|By Daemion Lee, and Paulette Ansari|
Skipping Stones Magazine
David Hartsough has been a peace activist all of his life, and this book tells his story. Born in 1940, he par- ticipated in many of the major peace movements in the U.S. and around the world. His recounting of various nonviolent protests make this book more than his personal story. It also chronicles a his- tory of peace activism that Mr. Hartsough witnessed.
Both of his parents were activists, and the childhood memories he includes in the book present an interesting per- spective on the early makings of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1940s and 1950s. He remembers challenging his teacher over a patri- otic march around the flag to support the military draft when he was in fifth grade. He also met Dr. Martin Luther King briefly as a teenager, which proved to be a influential experience.
He recalls, when he was only twenty, sitting at a segregated lunch counter all day in Arlington,Virginia with other black and white college students. He heard a voice behind him say, “Get out of this store in two seconds, or I’m going to stab this through your heart.” An evil looking man was holding a switchblade about an inch from his heart. David was grateful for his many hours of nonviolent role playing just days before. Still, it took all the courage he could muster to put a smile on his face, turn and say, “Friend, do what you believe is right, and I will still try to love you.”The man lowered his arm, turned and walked out of the store.This single event proved the awesome power of God’s love.
Hartsough’s work took him from Cuba to Yugoslavia to Germany and back to America. He also went to Kosovo, El Salvador, Palestine, Iran and else- where. He continues to protest against war, racism, and militarization in nonviolent ways.
Hartsough is a Quaker and his sense of faith clearly sustains his work. He has witnessed much injustice —most chilling is his descriptions of the accident his friend Brian Wilson suffered in 1987 during a peace- ful blockade of a military train carrying weapons.Yet Hartsough has maintained a deep sense of compassion and a reverence for life that is evident in his writing.
This book shows what made Hartsough into a peace activist, and it chronicles the major achievments, as well as setbacks, in his life’s work. All together, this book is an excellent resource to help inspire those who will come after him.
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