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Charles Meredith: Two Quakers lost; a steadfast Republican


Dear Friends,

Good morning. Did you see that Samuel Snipes, a famous Bucks County lawyer, died at his family’s farm in Morrisvillle? He was 99. In 1957, Snipes represented Daisy and Bill Myers when the black couple and their three young children quietly moved into Levittown.

“Snipes felt that the black couple had every right to live there,” said David Kushner, author of the 2009 book “Levittown” that explored the ordeal. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer’s obituary, Jan. 9, “Snipes played a pivotal role in helping the first African American family move into Levittown and left a really wonderful legacy in that regard, by taking on the system and doing what was right.

“The Myers’ arrival in 1957 sparked weeks or unrest, harassment, and cross burning. Threats were made by phone, by mail and by screaming, spitting protesters outside the family’s home. At one point, Snipes held off a mob of enraged white people until police arrived.

In an Associated Press interview in 1999, Snipes recalled standing outside the Myers home as a crowd of several hundred called Snipes a betrayer of white people. Snipes said the mob chanted, “Thirty pieces of silver,” a reference to the amount Judas Iscariot was supposedly paid to betray Jesus.”

When Levittown was built between 1952 and 1957, its builder (William J. Levitt) touted it as the most perfectly planned community in America. But he refused to sell to black people.

I remember that incident vividly. I was 21 and a senior at Penn.

Snipes, a birthright Quaker, was unafraid of controversy. In 1967, he represented clients opposing the Centennial School District’s distribution of Bibles to students. Snipes won the case in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. As Falls Township solicitor in 1972, Snipes thwarted an attempt to build a nuclear power plant on an island in the Delaware River across from Pennsbury Manor, the summer home of William Penn.

“He never let go of his concern for family, farm, community and the world at large, in spite of the sordidness and upheaval of the current political climate,” Marion Snipes, his widow said.

We lost another Quaker last week. Arlene Kinsey, a member of Richland Meeting, was 98. Arlene was a registered nurse at the former Quakertown Hospital and then a private duty nurse until her retirement.

Arlene joined Richland Meeting in the late 1940s when she married her husband, Henry Kinsey, whose family had been a Richland Meeting member for generations.

Linda Cooper, a former clerk of Richland Meeting spoke about Arlene’s quiet, gentle ways. “I do remember getting tired and suggested that we might leave early as the crowd was dying down,” Linda recalled.

She was referring to a Quakertown Alive festival on Broad Street.

Arlene and Linda were manning a display table about Quakers in Quakertown. “Arlene thought for a minute about closing and said, “Well maybe. But if you think so too, we probably should stay a bit longer …just in case.”

Arlene was a lovely, quiet, and caring person. We’ll miss her.

On an entirely different subject, former state Rep. Paul Clymer sent a thoughtful and critical letter to me. I thought you’d like to be in the loop. Paul enclosed an article from a Wall Street Journal editorial, Jan. 3, which was critical of Nancy Pelosi, the new speaker of the House of Representatives. “The main Democratic goal will be destroying Donald Trump,” its subhead read.

Here’s what Paul Clymer wrote to me: “Since you have a strong affinity for the Socialist-Progressive Democrats, this news article is about the Democrats taking ownership of the House and their radical left wing agenda. (Clymer is a Republican.)

“Pelosi and company are preparing to investigate President Trump and his wonderful family, rather than legislate and confront important national issues such as the Southern border,” Clymer wrote.

“On Jan. 3, a California Congressman (D) filed letters of impeachment even though no grounds of Constitutional wrong-doing was mentioned. Congresswoman Tlaib (D) used a vulgar impeachment rant to emphasize that President Trump should be impeached. Ignorant and shameful; but this is the new Democratic Congress. The mainstream media will give Congresswoman Tlaib a pass because her foul remarks play well into their anti Trump bias.

“So, let’s discuss “The Wall.” I am a strong supporter of building the Wall. Many Democrat leaders also supported “The Wall” until President Trump made it part of his campaign. Now those same Democrats oppose making America safe by building a wall/barrier because President Trump will get the credit. What a bunch of hypocrites! “Pelosi scorns the message: “A nation without borders is a nation that will cease to exist.

“Failure of Democrat leadership to compromise on this issue will keep the government shut down, allow the caravans to advance, and the illegals to continue breaking the law,” Paul’s letter concluded.

He asked for my response.

I like Paul Clymer and his willingness to work hard for the people in his 145th district. But his faith in Donald Trump is misplaced. This president will continue to embarrass my party (the GOP) until the 2020 election … or he resigns first.

Sincerely, Charles Meredith