Okay, by the time of the March on Washington, probably everyone knew guns wouldn’t be tolerated, sure. Especially anywhere near the capitol, or in masses.

But I once heard a Virginia woman tell the story of her family and school desegregation. This was not a major city, or a major school, or a well-known figure, just your average ordinary black middle-class woman remembering her childhood.

Her father escorted her sister to third grade with a gun in his trunk.

All the other fathers, too. They didn’t wind up needing to use them, or, as I remember, even wave them around, but they were ready.

To me, that expresses the magnitude of the civil rights movement: how strong the feelings were on both sides, how wrong massive resistance was, the value placed on education, the transforming of children into a literal battleground for the debate over what America would be….

Taking my kid to school with a gun.

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