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We Shall Not Be Moved
Me, Adria, and her little brother Mathew gasped as we saw the poster:
THE MARCH TO MONTGOMERY
WHITE, BLCAK, HISPANIC: EVERYONE IS WELCOME
COME MARCH 9 AT 9:00 SHARP
WE WILL MARCH FOR THE RIGHTS OF ALL!
SPECIAL GUEST: Martin LUTHER KING
“We have to go!” I said excitedly, “I’ve always wanted to meet Martin Luther King!” Adria and Matthew nodded their heads, too excited to speak. Adria had always been talking about how she wanted to march, and Matthew was always following in his big sister’s footsteps.
“Let’s go ask Mom!” Mathew said as he started to race home. Me and Adria laughed as ran into a pole and went down like a teardrop.
“Slow your roll, Flash,” Adria teased as she smacked him in the back of the head and helped him up.
“Are you coming, Rachel?” Mathew said as he continued to walk with pep in his step.
“Uh…..” I stuttered. Mama had been really uptight lately since she had some of her hours cut at her job at the factory, and my grades getting lower and lower was not helping. My hunch was telling me it was a definite no.
“Oh man, she’s gonna say no!” Adria said as she smacked her forehead walking up the steps to her porch. Mathew hung his head and walked into his house.
“Just try to reason with her,” Adria sighed as she walked into her house, closing the door. I sighed and walked to my house, praying that somehow mom wouldn’t say no.
“NO!” Mama said sternly as she took out the leftover chicken out the fridge. I hated how I could be so right at times.
“But why?” I said in an appealing tone. Mama ignored me for a while and plugged in the microwave.
“Because it’s a dangerous and silly way for you to skip school like a you other young fools and get in trouble for something that is never gonna change,” Mama said coldly as she handed me a plate. I fought back tears as she continued to put food in the microwave and humming a song I didn’t know.
“It’s not silly, it’s a modest protest that I am going to no matter what you say!” I shouted as I dropped the dish, letting it shatter. Mama whirled around with a furious look and was about to hit me and then stopped.
“Honey, you need to stay in school and get an education, not run off to these silly marches,” Mama said.
“The only reason you care is because you didn’t get one!” I shot back, “So yeah, I’m gonna get a good one, just so I can move away from you and this torn-up neighborhood!” I burst into tears as Mama stared at me in shock and I fled to my room.
I woke up to hear the loud rumbling of cars and shouting people outside. I groggily got up to see about twenty white people gathered outside our neighborhood shouting and throwing stuff at the houses. Suddenly the ground moved beneath my feet and a loud explosion went off. I screamed as debris crashed in all over me, hitting my body all over.
“Stay away from the march, you black apes!” a man shouted.
“Ya’ll are too stupid to do anything organized anyways!” a lady jeered. I heard cars speed off and whoops of laughter before I passed out and heard and saw no more.
I woke up feeling pain all over my chest and arms. I wildly looked around and Mama gripped my hand and squeezed it.
“How bad is it?” I said as I turned to her.
“Well, you broke your arm and had to get a wedge of cement surgically removed, Adria broke two ribs and her leg, the whole neighborhood is destroyed, our house is burned to the ground, and…….and…..Mathew is dead.” I quickly turned and saw Adria staring over at me. Her eyes were red from crying, and she gave me a mourning look. Mathew was dead, the neighborhood destroyed, and we were both hurt. Mom got her wish; I was not going to the march now.
The days spent in the hospital were boring and tense. Adria and I tried to entertain ourselves, but in the end it was just no use. We both could not get our mind of our now totaled neighborhood, and the march was continuously on my mind. A rumor was that police had been fully aware of the attack and could have stopped it, but didn’t on account of “not knowing how.” This really got me angry, so I started to devise a plan……….
On Sunday I woke up early and got dressed in my regular clothes. Then I went over to Adria and tossed her clothes on the bed. She quickly woke up and soon realized what I was about to do.
“My brother is dead and you’re thinking of a march?” Adria said as she stared at the clothes.
“Just think of it as a little innocent revenge,” I said as I helped her into her pants.
“How are we going to look going in casts?” Adria whispered as she tugged at her jeans.
“People are going missing arms, legs, and half their body,” I snapped, “I bet we’ll blend right in.” Adria shook her head in amazement as I pulled the shirt over her head.
“I don’t want to go,” Adria whined.
“We have to go,” I said as I helped her into a wheelchair that so happened to be in the room, “we have to show those people who bombed us that we can’t just be scared away.”
“Fine,” Adria sighed as I pushed her out the room, “But I better see Martin Luther King.” I grinned and waltzed right out the hospital doors.
I cheered as we finally started to march off. We had been waiting for a few minutes and I was bursting with excitement. Many different types of people were marching, including whites, blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and war veterans. We had all come for one purpose and one purpose alone: to march for our rights. As we walked, I heard a proud rich voice sing out a beautiful song:
We shall not be moved
Weeeee shall not be-
Suddenly we stopped as we saw dozens of police lined up.
“Disperse or we will take action!” one said through a megaphone. Everyone froze. Suddenly screams went up as tear gas, raging dogs, billy clubs, and cattle goads filled the crowd.
“RUN!” Adria screamed as I pushed the wheelchair with all my might. I screamed as I huge German shepherd snapped at my heels, steadily gaining on us. Suddenly I heard that rich voice again:
We shall not beeee moooved
Weeeeeeeee shall not beeeee moved
I suddenly knew that safety was in the trees. I made a mad dash for the park until I found a huge tree. People all around us were laying on the ground bleeding, unmoving, and still, while others scream and ran in all directions. I, however, was perfectly calm as I followed the voice:
Liiiiiiiike a treeeeeeeeee planted next to the waaaaaaater
I quickly hoisted Adria up into the tree as the dog came charging at us:
I climbed up on the wheelchair as the dog kept barreling towards me:
A pair of strong brown hands gripped mine and pulled me up just as the dog crashed into the chair and let out a loud howl of pain. I gasped as I saw who was in the tree:
My mama, Adria’s mom, and Martin Luther King himself were all huddled up in the tree with Adria. I was so startled that all I could do was stutter.
“Hello, baby,’ mama said as she pulled me close to her.
“Miss Rachel Thompson,” Martin Luther King said as he extended his hand. Mama had to grab my hand and force it into his.
“We knew ya’ll would be here,” Adria’s mom said, “We decided that we might as well follow you here.”
“Martin here gave us a ride,” Mama said as she gazed over at him, “I’m sorry I didn’t let you come before. I’m having a blast talking to this man!”
“I’m sorry,” I said as I finally found my voice.
“It’s okay….for once, it’s okay,” Mama said as she hugged me.
“Aw!” everyone in the tree crooned. I rolled my eyes. Suddenly a police officer came and demanded we get out the tree. We quickly scampered down and said nothing as we were hustled to a police car along with countless others.
“You folks okay with losing your jobs?’ Martin Luther King asked as we sat in the car.
“I never really liked the factory anyway,” Mom grinned.
“I’ve always wondered what prison was like,” Adria said as she settled into the seat.
“Today, we get a free picture and free room and board,” Adria’s mom joked, “Anyone else sees anything wrong?” We all laughed and slapped her on the back.
“Actually, things could not be better in my life,” I commented as we drove away.