Walking the Walk
History Teacher Spreads the Word in Civil
One day in 2005, Eugene, Oregon, middle school history teacher Raymond M. Brown complained to his son about the erosion of civil liberties in America. His son asked him, “Well, what are you going to do about it?” It was a pivotal moment for Brown. He decided to take his passion for history and American liberty beyond the confines of his classroom. He purchased a colonial era outfit and hit the streets distributing copies of the Bill of Rights, and he began giving presentations to schools and community groups and at Fourth of July events.
After his retirement in June 2010—after 36 years of teaching—he made his greatest dream come true: He walked across America handing out the Bill of Rights and talking to his countrymen about the importance of our freedoms. Below are excerpts from his travel blog.
Tuesday, June 29: Oregon
I am always grateful to the people who stop their cars to wish me well. Everyone seems supportive. I have been offered food, drink, and money. I always hand people a copy of the Bill of Rights. One guy took my picture to put online and spread the word.
Tuesday, August 10: Wyoming
Today a Yellowstone tour bus stopped and the driver asked me if I’d be willing to talk to the passengers. They all got out and I gave them a 10-minute history lesson and copies of the Bill of Rights. Later, a group of people had lined both sides of the road to clap and cheer as I walked by. That act brought a tear to my eye.
This is just a peek into what I experience with people daily. Everyone has been so positive!
Tuesday, October 12: Iowa
This morning I was enjoying my coffee when an elderly man on a tractor came through the park where I was camping to grade its gravel roadway. He was only too glad to turn off his engine and talk. It turns out he and his friend had built the campground many years earlier, along with the adjoining nature preserve that features native grasses and other plant life. We talked about the importance of leaving legacies, and I assured him that their contribution would live on as campers enjoy the lovely grounds and local schoolchildren visit the preserve. Isn’t that what we all want in the end? To leave something behind—to make a difference in this life?
Wednesday, November 10—Thursday, November 11: Ohio
I was at Crestline High School yesterday and Ontario Middle School today discussing my trip, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the importance of studying our nation's history.
It was good to be back in the classroom.
Wednesday, December 15: New Jersey
When I began this trip, my family was concerned for my safety, but it’s never been an issue. I have met many different Americans along the way and they all have been kind, helpful, and supportive.
This entire journey I tried to raise an interest in the study of American history and the importance of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. It has been encouraging that everyone I’ve met—Republicans or Democrats, Left or Right, Red State or Blue—has agreed that the principles upon which this country was founded are still important to us today.
I am also particularly grateful to the schools that opened their doors to me; of all the people, it is the young people I enjoy working with most.
Read more highlights from Brown's amazing six-month journey by clicking here.