Thursday, December 20, 2007

Santa Claus and Nonviolent Action. . .

Hello friends,

This week I have run across a couple of examples of Santa taking part in nonviolent actions. I thought you would enjoy them!

The first story is from a 1951 campaign to racially integrate a department store in Washington, DC. The following comes from Fight On! Mary Church TerrellĀ“s Battle for Integration (Clarion Books, New York). If you don't know about Mary Church Terrell -- read about her at

In the midst of a major campaign to integrate Hecht's department store in DC (all of which predated the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and which predated the sit-in "movement" as such by almost ten years), sit-ins and picketing had been going on for months.

As they came into the Christmas season, . . . "the planning Committee had a brainstorm. Shortly before Christmas the picketers arrived at Hecht's dressed as Santa Claus and other holiday characters. Dozens of people intending to go into Hecht's changed their minds. Who would shop in a store against the advice of Santa Claus? Hecht's officials were so furious about the "Santa Claus picket line" that they called the police, but law enforcement official refused to arrest Santa Claus and his helpers.
By early 1952 the boycott had cost Hecht's six million dollars. The firm had lost thousands of customers. They company decided that it couldn't continue such losses. In mid-January of 1952, Hecht's began serving everyone at its lunch counters." (Fight On!, page 147-148).

Our second Santa story comes from the Ottawa Citizen, just a couple of weeks ago,
about an incident at Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's house

"Protestors dressed as Santa Claus and several of his elves were arrested at 24 Sussex Drive last night then they took Stephen Harper a lump of coal. It was to be his reward for what they call his sabotage of the UN climate talks in Indonesia."

Here's a picture of a flying elf!

Christmas blessings,
Matt Guynn


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