“Who is Martin Luther King, Jr?”
This question was asked of me by a 1st grader who attends the school where I work (school to remain nameless), when in conversation I told her why there was no school on Monday.
I think I was more surprised at my surprise that she did not know who he was. I suppose I should have known better, given the state that our youth are in and where their priorities lie today.
I always assumed that Martin Luther King was someone everyone spoke of, and while one may have not memorized his oeuvre, a good idea of who he was, existed.
As I begin to explain to the 1st grader who MLK was, a kindergarten student who overhears us talking, asks “who’s that?”.
My conversation has now attracted the eager ears of other adorable tykes who are also curious about this man.
They were intrigued by the information I relayed to them and wanted to know more. I told them as much as I could before having to table our conversation for another time. Administrator duties and all!
I realized that there was a serious problem. Not only are our children not being taught important American history at school, they are not being exposed to it at home either. High school and college should not be the FIRST TIME our children are learning our history. The time is now and it’s when they are young.
So who was Martin Luther King, Jr?
A minister from Atlanta, Georgia who led the nation through the Civil Rights Movement using non-violent protest. He helped to organize several marches, including the March on Washington, where he delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. Dr. King’s focus on peace as a resolution to hate and bigotry, made him a model of excellence among leaders.
This is a very, small fraction of what this man has achieved, as listing all of his accomplishments would have no foreseeable end.
I am deeply concerned that our children have not had the kind of exposure to Dr. King’s rich history and legacy, thus (as reflected in today’s society), do not value their lives.
It is important for us to tell our youth the stories of those who lost their lives fighting for us, so that life would be just a little easier and we would have more opportunities to make the world better.
These are extremely difficult times for the Black community, as we work to “survive” police brutality, lack of employment, deplorable housing conditions, and attacks on our humanity.
Given the current state of the Union, the best time to sit around a table and discuss black history and heritage is NOW!
Image Credit Source: biography.com; louisianaweekly.com; playbuzz.com; clickypix.com