Righting a wrong
It’s difficult for each of us to see our own shortcomings. It’s also true we often fail to see or acknowledge the shortcomings of our nation. We are raised to believe — and we do believe — we are a nation built upon principles of fairness, equal rights and opportunities for all, and justice. These are ideals to which we rightly aspire and hope to fulfill.
But our history is real. As a nation, we have always fallen short of those goals. As difficult as it might be to acknowledge that, it’s an imperative that we do. It’s an admission we must make if we are to faithfully pursue our aspirational desire to be better, to do better, to be blind to wealth or position, to race or gender, when it comes to equal rights and equal opportunities for all.
We must never be complacent if we are ever to live up to the ideals to which we aspire. We must not be bullied, shouted down or otherwise convinced to look away or ignore our shortcomings if we are ever to be the nation we want to be.
And, it’s never too late to right a wrong.
We were troubled to learn about the fate of Daisy D. Perkins, the first Black female attorney to practice in the state of Ohio. The North Baltimore Historical Society, in its research, provided these details about her life: Perkins graduated from North Baltimore High School, just north of Findlay, in 1896. The daughter of a freed slave, she attended Findlay College and then Wilberforce University. She worked as a stenographer while she studied under Judge Moses B. Earnhart in Columbus for her law degree. She was admitted to the bar in 1919.
But in 1928, she was indicted for perjury, disbarred and jailed. History, it seems, erased — or misplaced — the record of her crime, according to the Historical Society. It’s unknown, according to local historians, what Perkins did to warrant such a harsh accusation, and harsh punishment. She spent nearly a decade in prison.
One draft of history historians did locate, however, suggests Perkins was a victim and not the perpetuator of crime. The editor of the North Baltimore newspaper at the time, conjectured she was a victim of “white justice.” She never stopped proclaiming her innocence, the historians say, and they have made her cause theirs: They want Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine to pardon Daisy D. Perkins.
A pardon would right this wrong, they say, and they are making it their mission to try to clear Perkins’ name. We’re glad they have taken up her cause and we hope their research leads to the truth being told. That, we’re sure, is something that will make our state better, that will make our nation better.