I never grew up with an appreciation for Dr. King. I wasn't taught about him in school, and really never even knew much about him until I moved to Atlanta in 1996. Isn't that a shame?
The area of southwest Florida where I was born and raised was not very diverse. Ok. It wasn't diverse AT ALL.
As I went to college I began to encounter more people different than me, but when it came down to it, I functioned and lived with people who looked just like me.
When I was 24 my life and perspective broadened, and I am so thankful it did.
I began a teaching job in a 100% African American school in Atlanta.
This was no ordinary school, either.
It was fashioned after the schools started by Dr. Marva Collins. It was a strict, rigorous environment, with wonderful parental involvement and student success. It has consistently been one of the highest performing schools in our state.
(I bet when I said 100% African American you didn't quite expect that description of the school, did you?)
This is how prejudices and assumptions still run deep, even among people who claim they don't have a prejudiced bone in their body. It is my hope and prayer that we can abolish this in our children's generation.
I learned quickly how much Dr. King meant to so many people.
I heard 100 Kindergarten students recite the ENTIRE I Have a Dream Speech.
I became friends with a teacher who remembered sitting in the back of the bus riding to downtown Atlanta, and not being able to use the same bathrooms as whites.
I watched a classroom of children dramatize Rosa Parks being unwilling to move to the back of the bus. I will never forget the little girl that played Rosa... I can still see her fiery attitude as she planted herself in the front and would not move.
I was changed in many ways during my time teaching in that elementary school.
I thank GOD for the opportunity I had to be "the minority".
Most of all, I learned that we are not that far removed from racism. It is just a generation away, and that is truly sobering.
I believe it is our duty and responsibility to teach our children about Dr. King.
Ways we will learn about Martin Luther King, Jr. this week:
- Visit the MLK historic site/birth home in Atlanta. The kids can earn a Junior Ranger badge here, too. (We will be visitng Tuesday. I have never been and am very excited.)
- Read Who Was Martin Luther King, Jr.? (available for instant Kindle download)
- Watch this documentary on Netflix
- Watch the I Have A Dream speech on YouTube
- Use other resources from the Martin Luther King, Jr. Pinterest board I have created.
I have also created a free copywork download of some of my favorite quotes from Dr. King.
It is geared toward your learners that are working on beautiful cursive.
Included are five quotes which I hope will be meaningful to your student.
Will you be studying Dr. King in your homeschool any time soon?