The views stated here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the editors of this newspaper.
(March 19, 2021) This is in response to the most interesting and appreciated article about Mr. Horatio T. Strother. I thank the editors for a superbly written essay and the choice in deciding to promulgate. I have tremendous respect for the legacy of Mr. Strother. Because I am dedicated to freedom, liberty, equality and justice for all from the perspective of a conservative, I appreciate his efforts in the civil rights movement which is even more extensive than indicated in the book.
I knew his daughter when we in the same classes in elementary school in the late 50’s and early 60’s when we were around age six and seven. She was the only minority in my class.
I remember Horatio’s daughter as a very nice, polite, friendly, innocent, loving, well behaved and sweet little girl. I also remember her being tormented physically, emotionally and verbally entirely because she was Black. Not all of the kids were guilty of the moral crimes but many were. She was rejected socially. She sat alone at the lunch table because she was Black. I tried to be friendly but quickly backed off because I started to get attacked for being friendly. The teachers were aware but most did nothing to save her.
Not all of the teachers were complicit. Mrs. Helen Staba and Mrs. Margaret Church are to be commended. Mrs. Margaret Church counseled us to show kindness, love and respect to Horatio’s daughter and make her feel wanted and appreciated.
Before elementary school ended, Horatio’s daughter moved away. I’ve thought about her often and how she was horribly abused and put her in my calculations when making political decisions about freedom and justice issues and the need for protecting the weak and vulnerable.
The atrocity of bullying should never be allowed to occur. Thank God there are now laws to protect victims of bullying, and the atrocities committed against Horatio’s daughter would not be allowed to continue today. My reaction is that I could NEVER advocate violence but understand that it took the Columbine High School tragedy to make laws against bullying. There needs to be a national memorial to the victims of bullying that is similar to war memorials and let the aforementioned laws serve as a substitute memorial during this interim.
And finally, I commend a conservative Higganum Methodist Minister named Rev. Craig. He invited and warmly welcomed the Horatio Strother family into his church. He exploded in raging protest when a white family refused to give Horatio’s daughter a ride in their car to her home after a late school activity. Rev. Craig was an early participant in the struggle against bigotry.
A final point to ponder: Higganum has a long history of racism with the fields of Candlewood Hill Road hosting massive Ku Klux Klan rallies.