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Equal Rights, The world today, while not perfect, strives to be a place that provides equal opportunities to all its citizens. However, it was not always so. We owe much of this to our national heroes who fought for equality and dedicated their lives to shape the world as it is today. One very monumental figure who has immortalized his name in history while fighting for these very rights is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. As educators, it stands to reason that we instill the national spirit in our children by teaching them about the strife and accomplishments of Dr. King.
Why You Want to Take the Opportunity to Teach About Dr. King
Ever since 1986, Martin Luther King Jr. Day has been celebrated as an annual federal holiday for commemorating Dr. King’s efforts in challenging the racial caste system that had dominated much of the earlier history of the United States. While the older generation may remember the strides made by the efforts of such civil rights movement leaders. Due to the efforts of inclusivity made today, the values of these movements may go underappreciated among the younger generations. However, taking this opportunity to teach students about Dr. King and his values can only be beneficial. Here are some values of Dr. King that you may want to point out when teaching your students about his legacy:
Chase your Dreams
“I Have a Dream.” -Martin Luther King Jr.
This is undoubtedly one of the most famous phrases associated with Dr. King. It comes from the historic speech he made in 1963. Using his example, we can teach our students that no matter what their dreams are, they are valid. There is no dream that is too big, and only those who act in a manner befitting their dreams can change their own world.
Never Judge a Book by Its Cover
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character” -Martin Luther King Jr.
Dr. King’s strife was ideological. He challenged the norm where people were persecuted based on their heritage and color. Now children by nature, are curious and may be the first to point out any differences among their peers. While this generally never comes from a wrong place, following Dr. King’s example, children should be taught to seek out inherent qualities in people. To not treat them differently based on their appearance but always seek out the good in their moral qualities.
“If you can’t fly, then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk, then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.” -Martin Luther King Jr.
Despite being incarcerated multiple times, Dr. King kept fighting for his dream of human rights. Using his example, we can show our students that they need to remain steadfast despite the numerous setbacks they may face in life. It will go to show that they should never give up on the first signs of difficulty, whether they are aiming to become a varsity player or want to become a professional musician, the best goals are often the hardest to achieve, and only those with grit and perseverance will see them through.
Stand Up for What is Right
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” -Martin Luther King Jr.
The entire civil rights movement was based on standing for the right things. Lest we forget what our leaders have fought for, it is essential to teach the value of standing up against wrongdoings. Dr. King was very vocal in his stance and urged his community not to be quiet in the face of injustice. By teaching our students the importance of doing this, we groom them to create a community where villains do not get their way.
“Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” -Martin Luther King Jr.
One of the most beautiful messages that Dr. King left his community was about love, how it is the ultimate destination of good. And that we should never stoop so low as to make someone the subject of our ire and spite.
Children run into squabbles against their friends, teachers, and even their family. Let’s remind them of the power of love, and that forgiveness is the only true release from pain.
How You Can Celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Day with your Students?
- Create a word collage with your students that shows their favorite Dr. King quotes. You can read some of his important quotes out to them, and afterward, they can use cut-outs of the ones they liked to create a large collage.
- Do a group analysis of Dr. King’s important speeches. This can help students better understand Dr. King’s message and gain an appreciation for his efforts.
- If you live close to Memphis, it may be possible to take your students for a tour of the National Civil Rights Museum. The rich records of the movement can be both an educational and fun trip for kids.
- You can also bring in technology to the play and take students for a virtual tour of the civil rights museum instead. Similarly, there are many documentaries on the Civil Rights Leader, and you may want to play that to your students instead
READ MORE: BUILDING A CLASSROOM COMMUNITY
Equal Rights DO YOUR HOMEWORK
Children are impressionable and will respond to your energy by matching it. Hence, the best way to celebrate equality is to lead by example. Be excited, tell students why they should be excited, and last but not least, make sure to help them gain a more appreciative perspective on equal rights and what it means to live in a world changed by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.