Highlight – Bits of History

The above “kindergarten” picture is from Dora Taylor’s picture album. The setting is the Ybor City Mennonite Mission in Tampa, Florida.

Taylor arrived in Tampa in 1932, the year that The Old Fool entered first grade and learned that he was a Republican.. The exact date of the picture cannot be fixed, but in must have been one of the early years of 1930. It is of interest to The Old Fool because of the lone little black girl in the front row.

Milton & Ruth Brackbill, daughter, and friends

Milton Brackbill, pictured on right, was Taylor’s pastor in Paoli, Pennsylvania.  He and his family often visited Tampa and held evangelistic meetings. 

This picture is of interest to The Old Fool because of the people of color standing with Brackbill and family.  The two pictures give a glimpse of the hearts of Mennonite missionaries and their growing insight into the way of Jesus. The Old Fool attempted to record in his books some incidents where Mennonites stumbled across racial barriers to be true to the Gospel of Jesus.

 In 1953, Dwight Eisenhower, a moderate Republican president, appointed Earl Warren, also a moderate republican, to be the chief justice of the US Supreme Court.  The Warren Court saw that many things in the deep South were not fair and overruled some of the laws and customs adopted by majorities in the states.  

Because of its diligence in requiring fairness, the Warren Court was highly unpopular. It sought to end desegregation and to otherwise protect the rights of minorities. The Old Fool remembers highways littered by simple three word signs which appealed, “impeach Earl Warren.”  The signs  vented popular rage against fairness.   

Walking the Waterford nature trail

No one need be surprised that the minorities in the US endorse Barack Obama for election to a second term in the office of the president. They see him as one who is inclined to be fair.  Though they have been disappointed in him in his first term, they must recognize that even a president is limited by the selfishnes and greed of others. 

The Old Fool hopes Obama has the opportunity to appoint to the supreme court justices who are dedicated to fairness in society. He will so vote in November.  




About Martin Lehman

I was born 92 years ago, the son of a Mennonite pastor and organic gardener in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. At age 10 I was baptized as a member of the Marion Mennonite Church. I own the "Old Fool" moniker because I want to walk the Jesus Way even though the world and much of the church takes me as a fool for doing so. In my life I have moved from being a young conservative to an elderly radical. I tell that story in My Faith Journey posted on my website.
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4 Responses to Highlight – Bits of History

  1. Joe Sauder says:

    I think the 3 taller kids on the right of the picture might be my brother John and me and my 4 year old brother Billy so the year would have been 1935. Johnny and I were just turned 6 but hadn’t started elementary school until the fall of 1935.

    • Thanks, Joe, for helping to pin point the date of the kindergarten picture. It sounds right to me. For readers who don’t know Joe Sauder is a son of J. Paul Sauder, pastor of the Tampa Mennonite Mission. The first reference to Sauder is on Pps 58-59 in Volume 1, Roots of my books. Numerous references to him are found in the pages that follow.

  2. Audrey A. Metz says:

    Re your hopes for the November election, Martin:

    “from your lips to God/de’s ears”!

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