Going from Hatred to Hopes

Daisy (Gatson) Bates had reason to hate. When she was a baby, her mother was killed when she resisted three white men who were trying to rape her. Her father left town fearing for his own life. Daisy was adopted by friends of the family.

When Daisy was old enough to realize what had happened to her birth parents, she developed a hatred for people who practiced racism. Her adopted father warned her about how hatred can eat at your soul. He urged her to fight against racism, not with hatred but with hope for a better society.

When Daisy was 15 she fell in love and married. She and her husband started a newspaper which provided an outlet for telling the stories of persecutions and violations of Supreme Court desegregation rulings.

When the Supreme Court desegregated schools, Daisy helped the first African American students attend what was an all-white high school. Her home became the gathering place for the nine students attempting to integrate the high school. They were met with an angry mob, but Daisy became their advocate. Eventually President Eisenhower sent U.S. troops to the school to help the students attend.

When life in Arkansas was no longer possible for Daisy and her husband, she became prominent at the national level in the fight for Civil Rights. She was the only female speaker at the March on Washington.

Two years after the March on Washington, Daisy suffered a stroke and was wheelchair bound. But that didn’t stop her from her hopes for a better society. She moved to a small black community in rural Arkansas and focused on bringing essential services to the community.

Thirty-nine years after Daisy became the advocate for 4 students trying to integrate into public schools in Arkansas, Daisy carried the Olympic torch through the streets of Atlanta. The mob she encountered this time was very different. Instead of angry words, there were cheers and tears.

Her hatred had indeed been converted into the movement toward a better society. Her house, which had once had rocks thrown through its windows, a cross burning in its yard, and bombs tossed at, is now a National Historic Landmark.

Hope cannot exist if hatred is present. It’s tough to move from hatred to hope, but that transformation is necessary for living a life of achievement than one of remorse. The life of Daisy Bates should be a lesson for all who want to live a life of hope.

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“He had passed on to me a priceless heritage – one that was to sustain me throughout the years to come. I’ve never forgotten that incident. I decided I would do what I could to help my race.”  – Daisy Bates, after her adopted father helped her convert her hatred to hopes

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