“Mom, why are the banks and post office closed today?”
“Because it’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day.”
“Who’s Martin Luther King Jr.?”
This conversation may be heard throughout the USA on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Teaching our children about the vital history which includes one of the most influential men of our history is very important. Martin Luther King Jr. paved the way for social justice and equal rights in the twentieth century. It was during his life that “coloreds” were separated from “whites” causing great divisions to humanity.
What’s so special about Dr. King anyway? The man had a dream in his famous speech, and then the man was assassinated, ironically while he was making a speech about non-violence and social justice. But he indeed swayed the world to be more accepting of humans, regardless of their skin color. The man single-handedly started the civil right movements. He had such passion that he spoke over a couple of thousand times about it. The man lived for serving others, from being a preacher to being a community organizer. He loved his family having four children with his wife Coretta Scott King.
While civil rights were his main message he also spoke passionately about non-violent principals. He was an advocate for those in poverty, especially for those suffering from urban inequality. He found ways to talk about racism and in tearing down the walls that kept people divided.
Children should understand what Martin Luther King Jr. was up against because it took courage for him to stand up and declare his beliefs and passions. He was a black man in a time when the nation segregated the “coloreds” from the “whites”. The prevailing thought of that era was that coloreds didn’t deserve the same rights as whites. Dr. King saw it differently and saw everyone as equals, as humans, as children of God. He stood for his beliefs and fought for those oppressed.
Teach children to have a heart like Dr. King and strive to make the world a better place. Recommended books about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.:
For younger children
Belle, the Last Mule at Gee’s Bend by Calvin Alexander Ramsey and Bettye Stroud.
A Sweet Smell of Roses by Angela Johnson
As Good as Anybody by Richard Michelson
Martin’s Big Words by Doreen Rappaport
For older children
Who Was Martin Luther King, Jr.? by Bonnie Bader
March by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin