At the recent Cheetham Hill (Manchester) talk about the life and times of Robert Reschid Stanley, one of the youngest members of the audience – 12 year old Muhammed Amin – left, feeling both uplifted and … agitated.
He had been both moved – and angered – to learn about the destruction of Robert’s grave. But rather than just get cross and issue a tirade against the ‘powers that be’, Muhammed Amin turned his thoughts and views into something rather more creative.
Instead, he wrote a poem and set it within the image of a headstone. A new headstone – if you like – for our Robert.
Those of you that have already read a copy of ‘His Own Man’ or of ‘Imagining Robert’, will be able to agree with Robert’s family; that this young man has completely captured the essence of the man, of his times and – perhaps – the motivation behind what made Robert decide that he was also ‘Reschid.’ The poem on this 2019 headstone says:
“He came from poverty, gained virtue and fought vice,
He worked as a grocer and traded tea with honesty,
He was a Justice of the Peace, serving with dignity,
He was made Mayor of Stalybridge, not once, but twice.
He live in difficult times, in Queen Victoria’s reign,
America’s civil war, no cotton, no bread,
Fierce hunger, civil strife, turmoil, so many dead,
The rich exploit the poor, lives laden with pain.
He stood up for the weak and the downtrodden,
He wasn’t schooled, but wrote verse sweet and tender,
He didn’t yield to the high and mighty, spoke with candor,
A natural leader, a man of great perception.
A gentle soul, awake in spirit, accepted the Muslim creed,
He chose the name meaning ‘rightly guided’ or ‘Reschid.’
Muhammed Amin 2019.
On behalf of Robert Reschid’s family – Muhammed Amin – we thank you. And in the words of Yvonne (Steven and Christina’s mother); “What a wonderful tribute. This young man really ‘gets’ what happened so long ago. He gives us hope for the future. He is going to be someone of influence too … well done and thank you!”