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The power of children: Charles Feagan was pardoned and released on the strength of the words of his children

Posted by African Press International on June 15, 2017

Filed by Kiama Kaara,

On April 23rd 1932 a jobless struggling man, Charles R. Feagan was arrested in Detroit, charged with unlawful possession of an automobile. Feagan, a father of seven had not actually stolen the car but was transporting it to its owner in Detroit. The authorities would hear none of it and he was jailed, taking him away from the wife and children he so dearly loved.

Convinced that their daddy was not and had never been a thief, three children, Bernice (13), Irene (11) and Clifford (10) decided in their young minds to take what seemed an improbable decision to rescue their father.

Armed only with their innocence, strength of purpose, $1.32 and love for Daddy, the children begged bus drivers to take them to Washington, 1000 miles away where well-wishers gave them free accommodation as they plotted their mission the next day.

In one of the serious breaches to White House security recorded in history Bernice, Irene and Clifford walked unnoticed into the compounds of the White House, slowly making their way inside the rooms of the US seat of power until it was too late to stop them.

Within the corridors, they met the 31st President of the United States Herbert Hoover. A painfully shy man who always wore the face of a condemned man not a confident leader, President Hoover was many times defensive to the point of bewilderment. He was President during the great depression and once when told people were starving, true to his character he defended the indefensible telling his advisers ‘people are not starving. I know somebody who has managed to beg 10 meals a single day’.

Bernice, only 13 years old and acting as his father’s chief advocate, tearfully addressed the president in the oval office for one hour, extolling the virtues of his father, their life in Detroit and their mission in Washington before issuing an ultimatum to the President, ‘My father did not steal that car. I want my father home in time for Christmas. Release him’

Dumbfounded, the president said ‘A man whose children showed such loyalty to him, must have much good in him.’

Charles Feagan was pardoned and released on the strength of the words of his children and their moving story was later screened in a movie called ‘The Angels of Pennsylvania’ immortalizing how children can teach us about overcoming obstacles.

As a result of their bold act, the security of the President of the United States and that of the White house was beefed up and the White house fence taken further afield. The visit had a merciful and structural impact.

So ladies and gentlemen, raise your children in love and responsibility, for one day they may stand with you in the lowest moment of your life and raise their voice above the madding crowd to claim you and say ‘That is my father, my mother, do not joke with him’.

The power of children.

The End.

2 Responses to “The power of children: Charles Feagan was pardoned and released on the strength of the words of his children”

  1. Justus Lavi Mwololo said

    Teach them good steps while young because when they grow up they will never forget besides they are state and public poverty


  2. Gitau Wanguthi said

    Honestly, I do not always read lengthy posts, but this? I wish I could meet one of the erstwhile kids! I claim the story as a birthday present to myself from Kiama Kaara, one of the only two kids who visited me in exile in Tanzania during the dark days of Moi rule in Kenya, innocently risking their liberties, and perhaps, lives… Thank you Kiama!


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