Driving from Georgia to Arizona, we made a stop in Memphis, TN. We visited the site of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. The power and legacy of this one peace-minded person were palpable.
At first, he was a reluctant civil rights leader.
He had (very legitimate) fears: personal safety, the safety of his family…
But he served anyway.
It only took one person to lead a nation and provide inspiration for decades thereafter.
But what can I do? You might ask.
When you hear hate, speak up.
When you see injustice, take action.
When it’s election time, vote.
Thank you, Martin Luther King, Jr., for your leadership.*
*from Light Watkins
One of the questions on our last 5th grade social studies quiz was, “How can we, as Americans, ensure equal rights for everyone?” This was on the heels of learning about slavery and the Civil Rights Movement (literary study: The Watsons Go to Birmingham).
Most of my students answered, “Treat everyone like we’d like to be treated,” or “remind everyone about the Constitution.”
But one student wrote:
We could start an activity or sports program where EVERYONE was invited. People of all races would play together and while they played and made friends with each other, they would see we are all the same and racism would be gone.
If you’re feeling discouraged, by recent racist rhetoric from a small group of small-minded people, remember there are a lot of good people out there. Our children are wise.