One day, youngsters will learn words they will not understand.
Children from India will ask:
What is hunger?
Children from Alabama will ask
What is racial segregation?
Children from Hiroshima will ask:
What is the atomic bomb?
Children at school will ask:
What is war?
You will answer them.
You will tell them:
Those words are not used any more
like stagecoaches, galleys or slavery
Words no longer meaningful.
That is why they have been removed from dictionaries.
Martin Luther King, Jr
I was talking one day to my mom, who is now 91 Years old, and she was telling about her daddy losing the farm in the Great Depression. In 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the Worker’s Progress Administration (WPA), a program started to rebuild the infrastructure of America. Her daddy went to work for the WPA and would be gone for weeks and weeks. Because he was the only one who could drive, they relied a “huckster” to bring them what they needed. His truck would have pretty much everything you could think of bulging out the sides and from wall to wall on the inside. If you were lucky and that day you were close to the start of his route, you got fresh veggies and other things that were usually sold out by the time the got to you.
Now I had heard the word huckster as more of a pushy salesman than anything else. But my mom would speak of them as friendly people who came to bring you stuff you had run out of. The word huckster, though, was not part of my vocabulary and I don’t even know if I ever used it.
Do you know what it’s like to be one of the people on the outside? Disparaged, ignored, or excluded people who were barely a blip on radar. Can you imagine what it would have be like to feel the things they did?
Can you imagine what it would be like to be an agent of change so that words like hunger, war, or segregation were words that children didn’t understand; like stagecoach, galley, slavery?