One sign at the March for Science on Earth Day, April 22, 2017, said it all: “I can’t believe I’m marching for facts.”
Yep, that’s right. Many members of the Dickinson Organization of Poetry Enthusiasts (DOPE) met in Washington, and we marched for facts. For knowledge. For science. Pictures of the march are HERE.
Of course, DOPEs participated in the March for Science because Emmett Lee Dickinson (Emily Dickinson’s third cousin, twice removed – at her request) was more than a poet – he was also an inventor and a scientist. Furthermore, Emmett Lee Dickinson organized the very first protest march in Washington, D.C., in 1860.
The debate is best remembered today for two reasons: 1) There was a heated exchange after Wilberforce asked Huxley whether it was through his grandfather’s or his grandmother’s side of the family that he claimed his descent from a monkey, and 2) during the exchange, Emmett Lee Dickinson kept making ape faces at Wilberforce.
Pictured at the right: A headline from The Illustrated London News from July 1, 1860, reads, "Poet Emmett Lee Dickinson apes Thomas Huxley."
Dickinson was incensed by both his portrayal in the press and by the way some denounced Darwin’s work, so later in the year, he organized a March for Science in Washington, D.C., and in cities around the world. This was the first protest march recorded in Washington, D.C., and in many of the cities involved.
Dickinson wrote about the protest in his now-classic poem “We will March – our shoes have Purpose” (below on the left). Dickinson’s poem inspired third cousin Emily to pen her poem “We like March – his shoes are Purple” (below on the right).
By Emmett Lee Dickinson:
We will March – our shoes have Purpose
With views high and new –
March for Women and for Science –
March for Climate too –
Know the Swindler’s Tongue and clucking
And reject his doubt.
Stand together close and mighty –
That our Minds hold out.
News for him from us and others
Bold of us to try
With our True Words interfering
With this Brutish guy –
By Emily Dickinson:
We like March – his shoes are Purple.
He is new and high –
Makes he Mud for Dog and Peddler –
Makes he Forests Dry –
Knows the Adder's Tongue his coming
And begets her spot –
Stands the Sun so close and mighty –
That our Minds are hot.
News is he of all the others –
Bold it were to die
With the Blue Birds buccaneering
On his British sky –