Leonard Butler reads his thanks word from Ruby Bridges after sending his tea field that includes Kamala Harris, Ruby Bridges, and Rosa Parks to Harris and Bridges.

First, a historical past lesson for many who could not know or who (should you’re round my age) could have forgotten. In 1955, Rosa Parks, an African-American girl, refused to surrender her bus seat to a white man, a transfer that served as one of the sparks for the civil rights motion within the United States. In 1960, Ruby Bridges, at 6 years of age, was the primary black baby to attend an all-white college. She was escorted into college by federal marshals.

“That Little Girl Was Me” is a photoshopped image of Kamala Harris by @GoodTrubble and @briagoeller that went viral in November 2020.

These milestones in historical past got here again to me after I first noticed the picture of Kamala Harris, with Ruby Bridges as her shadow, that went viral simply after she was elected vice chairman. I instantly needed to do one thing with it in wooden. Ultimately I made a decision to scrollsaw the picture and place it on a tea field.

At some level whereas I used to be engaged on it, I acquired the “crazy” thought to make two tea packing containers and ship them to Vice President Harris and Ruby Bridges, respectively.  When I went to retrieve the picture on-line, I noticed a quote that learn: “Ruby walked so Kamala could run.”  I noticed one other picture that included Rosa Parks and a quote that learn: “Rosa sat and Ruby walked so Kamala could run.” That made me need to embrace Rosa Parks on the field, however I didn’t want to detract from the unique picture.  So I added Rosa Parks to the within of the lid.

The outdoors of the field options the picture of Harris and Ruby Bridges. Photo: Leonard Butler.

As all of those ladies are of African-American ancestry, I included species of wooden indigenous to Africa.  The photographs of all three ladies are scrollsawn from wenge and the grid contained in the field is from African mahogany.

The within the lid has a silhouette of Rosa Parks. Photo: Leonard Butler

Having accomplished the packing containers, it was time to get them to the recipients.  My pondering was, if I can get one to Ruby Bridges first, she would possibly have the ability to help in getting the opposite to Vice President Harris.  I Googled “address for Ruby Bridges” and discovered a PO Box in New Orleans.  I packed up the field, included a brief word of clarification, and despatched it off through the US Postal Service with monitoring info.  It sat within the submit workplace for about three weeks.  I referred to as the submit workplace and was knowledgeable that the PO field was inactive and my package deal can be returned.

When I acquired the package deal again, all 4 corners of the transport field had been busted open.  It was barely intact.  Fortunately, the bubble wrap had protected the tea field.  It had a small smudge in one nook that I simply repaired.  The seek for a superb tackle continued however, within the meantime, I made a decision to ship the opposite tea field to VP Harris.  I despatched it to her workplace on the White House, however this time I used FedEx!  Several days later, monitoring confirmed it had been signed for.  Three weeks after that, I used to be delighted to retrieve from my mailbox a big manila envelope with a return tackle of “Office of the Vice President.”  Inside was a small word card with the Vice Presidential seal, thanking me for the reward.

It took months for me to discover a usable tackle for Ruby Bridges, however on October 29 I mailed the reward once more…additionally through FedEx. And on October 31, monitoring confirmed it had been signed for by R Bridges!  I breathed a sigh of aid.

Two weeks later I acquired a word of thanks from Ruby Bridges!  This delivered to fruition my “crazy” thought of months in the past.  The word from Bridges is much extra private, as it’s handwritten and expresses real sentiments.

I’ve been a woodworker for greater than 40 years and I’m fairly keen about it.  It feels superior to know that little ol’ me made and offered a handcrafted reward to those trailblazing ladies!  I imply, the present vice chairman of the United States has a present I made for her in my store!  I’m ecstatic!  And … I’ve my subsequent woodworking challenge—a body for the notes I acquired.

From the Bench: Making historical past

When Leonard Butler got down to re-create the Jefferson lap desk, he didn’t notice he’d be opening a window into historical past for aspiring woodworkers of all ages

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