to-broadly comfortables

there sales leprosy children; that paraly

appalled by the dimensions of the task. ing every living fish; of sterilizing But above all loomed this immense every field; shattering every city and difficulty: that there was nothing and town upon the globe; withering every nobody to work against. Effort in forest; destroying every seed; eating those days was almost wholly another out the heart of every root. There word for fight; something was to be under lime lay the blight for enemy won ahead of others or in spite of them; cows and the paralyzer for enemy or defended, when it had been won, chickens; the rot for enemy vegetables; from their attacks. Those were still — the parasites for enemy cotton and we have to keep reminding ourselves corn; the ready-to-broadcast infections - the ages of the Ruction Life. of diphtheria, croup, and infant paraly

However, there was one thing so sis for enemy children; the United obvious that no living man could miss States leprosy bombs; the English it. Of all the furniture on Earth there smallpox shells; and — the triumph of was one kind most dangerous to life. the French army chemists — the reArmament of every sort had become vival of the putrid plague. overnight unspeakably antiquated.

The word sounded as faint and far- (EDITOR'S NOTE. — The Interpretation away as stagecoaches. Government had to be cut here. The rest of it was less officials could at least begin with that;

begin with that. valuable. It dealt chiefly with the gradual

valuable.. and besides it was their most familiar

consolidation of all political parties on

Earth into the international Workerscult material. They certainly showed no

and Ownerscult parties, which, as we all hesitation here. With a joyful alacrity,

crity, know, maintained their opposition for a in fact, as of persons long awaiting long time. With all this we are familiar permission to do so, they took immedi- from our school histories; nor did our ate steps to destroy it. Within nine author present any of it in any new light. days — it has been computed — after Nothing he could say of either Cult could the issuance of the Recommendation, show it otherwise, presumably, than as we the stores of explosives and poisonous all realize both these extinct parties were — chemicals accumulated by every

the product, body and soul, of the Strencivilized government since the L.C.W. vous had been treated with Antint' and

So named from a combination of the prefix buried in lime and salt. There at last anti, and the popularized chemical name of the lay safely buried the means of poison- violent early explosive TNT.

Second Interpretation


Of course the present concert of human human achievement. Any interpretarelations can't be interpreted by itself, tion I might make would have to be as a thing unconnected with previous related to some general scheme that history. History is all one piece; and fits Earth history as a whole. whatever has been the prime cause of Now my own interpretation of histhis great change and brightening of tory as a whole is that from time to the life of man must bear some likeness time a tide of brotherly love has to the causes of other great waves of swelled, mounted, and carried human

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

revivaffection we shout had no in

life far up the beach of its great possi- more than once met — though I cannot
bilities. Such a tide was early Bud- say I really knew — Alosha Ban Tele-
dhism, when, in its unadulterated mark. I was myself only an Associate
strength, it turned the armies of Sharer — a Sharer of the Outer Degree.
Asoka, all flushed with conquest as But to have met with those impas-
they were, back to the planting of trees sioned women, to have felt the emana-
and the building of schools and the tions of spiritual power that flooded
digging of wells. Such a tide was round them, was to conceive once for
released by the first Franciscans, when all an overwhelming sense of the
they taught the Christian world not to transforming energy of those flood
be afraid to be happy, and released the tides of loving-kindness that are
exulting glories of the Renaissance. released upon the world by every
And such a tide, I think, brought in the actual reckless practice of the Inas-
Family Order and the Discipline of much ideal.
Delight; for I think Kate Cotton, her Kate Cotton was a young matron in
great convert and martyr, Alosha Ban, the city of Macon, Georgia, the mother
and the thousands of women who fol- of four little children, fond of music and
lowed them, were the chief architects of acting in French plays. The only
of the pleasant days we live in.

remarkable thing she had ever done
I even think, if it had n't been for was to go to Serbia during the L.C.W.
the Sharers, we should never have had for relief work there. She was a thor-
the affectionate wit to think of the ough Southerner, a Georgian on both
revival of Nomadry, but would still sides, and the daughter of a Confed-
have been calling the natural Nomads erate veteran.
among us by the stupid old name of There was a little society of young
‘tramps,' and dragging them into women in Macon in those days called
tobacco-smelling courtrooms with the Helping Hand. They used to meet
droning clocks, and there sentencing once a week or so to work for something
them to ten days in a greasy county that was needed in the town — usually
jail. But for the Institute of Sharing, something that was rather obviously
I believe we should still be witnessing needed. Sometimes they made clothes
the Ownerscult arrayed above the for families which the river floods had
Workerscult in the hopeless endeavor driven out of their dwellings on the
to pacify their realization of inequality. Ocmulgee flats, and sometimes they
And though the vast chemical arma- arranged to send fruit and cakes to the
ments of the nations have been prisoners in the jail. In other words,
Antinted, and buried in coffins of lime, they were just such a society of amiable
I believe that as soon as the Ice Age young creatures as existed in a thou-
Bubble had been pricked by the news sand other places, and did just such
that volcanic dust could be gently and little compassionate things to ease the
gradually precipitated by airplanes screaming horrors of the Strenuous
scattering adhesive steam, we might Age. In the early fall of 1928 they
quite possibly have sneaked back, one elected Kate Cotton president.
set of temporary rulers after another, The legend is that she looked out of
and begun to manufacture corroding her window in the moonlight one night,
and infecting germs once more, where- and saw a few intoxicated white men
by to impose our wills upon each driving by in six or seven automobiles,

having a Black boy, with a rope round I knew Kate Cotton personally. I his neck, in the front car, and a coffin

in full, ahe herself wito do thatwho

in the last one. This is a dramatized seemed to dwell on everything, even as version of what really happened. The she passed it by. I remember that she facts were that she read in the Macon looked at Kate with intense concentraTelegraph, at breakfast one morning, tion that afternoon. She was the only an account of a Black boy's being one of us, I thought, that Kate seemed lynched. It was n't the first time she individually conscious of. had heard of lynchings. As I said, she It was she, I think, who asked Kate was a Georgian. She had felt shamed to tell us exactly what she meant by and sorrowful about them a great many 'sharing.' times before. But this time she left her Kate said that she believed in the breakfast untasted and went to the bottom of her heart that such troubles telephone and called a meeting of the as she had spoken of ought to be shared Helping Hand.

in full, and to the bitter end. But so When she had us all in her parlor far as she herself was concerned, she that afternoon, she told us that she had n't the courage to do that. She would have to resign as president, thought there might be people who because she would have to give all her might join the Sharers, who would be time to another society she was going pluckier than she was. Such people, to start. She would start it, she said, she thought, might be called Sharers even if no one else joined; but she to the Death, or Last Degree Sharers. knew that others would join. She Alosha Ban then, in a composed, thought it ought to be called the even voice, asked:'Sharers,' or some such name, because Do you mean that if a Black man, the idea she had in starting it was just then, is lynched, a woman — of to share trouble voluntarily with those another race - should commit suiwho had it. The kinds of trouble she cide?' meant — she said — were the kinds Kate, almost in a whisper, said that human beings let loose on each 'Yes.' other; not the kinds we all together try Voices instantly rose all round the to prevent, such as drought and fire and room; scarcely one of us but was saying flood. She did n't mention race hatred, in varying ways, the same thing: 'How or the Black race, by name.

could anyone possibly bring such horAlosha Ban was there. She was a ror and misery on her family?' member of the Helping Hand and, of Kate did n't speak. She was very course, the most picturesque person in pale. it, wearing, as she did, a modified Alosha Ban composedly said: 'It Oriental dress, and remaining, as she would be just about like a soldier going did to the day of her death, a devout away to fight. He brings horror and Mohammedan. She had married a misery on his family. Macon business man, Henry G. Tele- So much I remember as if it had mark. It was said that he had met her happened yesterday. I don't know on a trip to the Philippines. She was why I've never written it down before. generally known as Mrs. Telemark, Since the death two years ago of Kate though she was something of a feminist Cotton, no one else is left, I think, who and usually signed her maiden name was present at that meeting. She had thick black hair, and very But the rest of it I don't remember black eyes, that you might call gazing, quite so well. I know that Kate must or dwelling, eyes: eyes that never darted have sketched the Sharers of the Midabout from one thing to another, but dle Degree, afterward called the Life Sharers, who would go to live — not ing, what came to be the Third or for a little while, to see what it was like, Associate Degree. Everyone knows, I but permanently — in the forlornest suppose, what the Associate Sharers houses in their respective communities, were: women who agreed to enter into in the dirtiest streets, with the worst the lives of the poor by symbol only. drains. And I remember that whereas And we honestly felt that we were we had all been willing to consider, really sharing just by doing that. after an instant's protest, the remote We agreed that we would go into possibility that somebody, somewhere, definite mourning for a short time might sometime die as a rebel against every year for the hardships that surthe custom of lynching, several of us vived in our community. For every now rose out of our chairs from the increase in hardship that fell upon any mere shock of such a thought as this class in our community, we would of living in Negro streets; and most of extend our time of mourning; and for us speaking at once as before, but every pleasantness added to the least louder, in a confusion of dissent, said pleasant lives among us, we would that it would be harder than death shorten the time. itself to go and live in those places. I have told thus in detail about the

Kate laughed at that, and said oh no, meeting that epoch-making afternoon, it could n't be worse than dying, be partly because my recollections are so cause any Community could take its much more concrete than the usual Sharers out at any moment, simply by accounts, but more because I think the cleaning up those streets and making multitudes of women who responded them wholesome and pleasant.

to us in the outside world divided just 'We should be martyrs,' she said, about as we did that afternoon into the ‘only until our community decided various degrees of Sharers. For every that it did n't want any martyrs. Death Degree, or Life Degree, Sharer,

‘But you all can see from that,' I there were perhaps two of the Season remember her saying, 'what a coward Sharers and half a dozen of the AssoI am. For I have n't got even the ciates. But of course these distinctions courage to do that. All I've got the were anything but formal or fixed. courage to do is to go and live in poor Season Sharers blended into Life people's streets for three months or Sharers, and Life and Death Sharers so of every year. And I declare often merged together, and there was I don't believe I've got the courage about the history of the Institute from to take those three months in the its foundation the informal spontanesummer.'

ous growth of things in nature, rather Even three cool months looked much than of those that are manufactured. too hard to the rest of us, and we all So far as I can remember, nothing said so, except Alosha Ban. Two or about all this appeared in the papers three other women and I began trying until, in the course of six weeks or so, to think of a still more moderate degree Kate Cotton moved out of her pleasant in which we could be sharers. For Vineville Avenue house into one of the somehow none of us seemed to want to little streets where the working race lay Kate's challenge on the table, and lived. She left her children in charge go home and leave it there. Two or of their grandmother, just as she had three said they would try to do what done when she went to Serbia. How Kate did. And several of us worked homely and simple a movement the out, that day, before we left the meet Sharers' was — arranged to suit house

courage to do it hat. All I every on the ciates. people's streets too and live in poor were anything bute these distincti

in wehow no challenge it the

keeping women, and managed from young people's exodus, which had hand to mouth by common-sense. begun years before, out from the Kate was only two blocks away from Ownerscult into the more adventurous her family, after all. She moved into a kinds of work. As early as the teens of small tenement her husband owned, the twentieth century there had begun with a peach tree on each side of the to be such an exodus, at first in vacadoor. It had two rooms. I went to see tions chiefly, when the sons and her there, and she was doing her wash- daughters of the Owners went into the ing in a kettle in the sandy backyard, factories or mines, or as stewards and just as Black women had done it for stewardesses on lake and ocean vessels, her for thirty years.

from June until October. This was But now, within twenty-four hours, probably the reason why the Sharers what she had done was in the Atlanta attained to such a comparatively papers. From them it was copied into enormous growth in the colleges. papers all over the State. For a few Before the end of the winter the weeks she was overwhelmed with American newspapers published acreporters and with visitors. But even counts of Sharers forming in China. in those earliest limelight days there I am not sure whether those first was always somebody among the Chinese Sharers were the same reckless visitors who had come really wanting and ingenious women who locked to join her 'order.' And though a few themselves into their cellars in order curiosity-seekers came to see us Asso- to share the lot of malefactors in the ciates too, many more came who were Chinese prisons or whether the Prison interested: surprisingly many. There Sharers' movement came later. This were not a few who really wanted to variety of Sharer soon spread, for as find some expression for their own early as the spring of 1930 I heard of sisterly sense of unrest about the poor, Prison Sharers in Ireland. Ireland, who thought our way might prove indeed, was where the Prison Share theirs.

carried their campaign to the greatI believe it's almost impossible to est heights of devotion, imprisoning overestimate the amount of talk that themselves in area-enclosures on the was going on by this time about Kate's streets, and hungerstriking with the little movement. Of course at first the hungerstrikers. principal interest was among the South- But this was after Alosha Ban's ern women. It seemed to be a White death. No historian of the Sharers woman's undertaking at first, but very could ever estimate the course the soon Negro teachers and authors living movement would have taken without in the North began asking to be en- that most grisly and effective use to rolled, and came back to the South, which Alosha Ban decided to put her giving up their positions and careers body. Many critics of the movement and losing themselves in Sharing. think it would have been vastly more Almost without exception, these Black effective if it had been less 'theatrical.' Sharers took the Life Degree.

In the opinion of these judges, the selfSharers appeared in Europe almost martyrdom of Alosha Ban was the as soon as they did in New York, match that touched off the movement where at first the Sharing principle was into what they call a 'bonfire.' It is understood to be a variation of the impossible for me to form any judgSettlement idea. It was the New York ment. I was myself, and still am, too Sharers who amalgamated with that much under the dreadful glamour of VOL. 184 - NO. 1


estimahave taktive use her

« ElőzőTovább »