When my parents decided to move to the United States, they settled in Montgomery, Alabama. Montgomery is the capital of Alabama and full of rich civil rights history. Part of the history includes Montgomery being once the residence of Martin Luther King. It is in Montgomery, AL where his career as minister and legendary civil rights leader. I had the opportunity to learn more about the roots and history. For me, Martin Luther King day is more than just a holiday when you grew up knowing the history.
With MLK Day coming up, this was a chance to talk to my kids about civil rights and its history. To share the knowledge I have acquired from presentations and events that have impacted me. This is a chance to remember the history around the American Civil Rights movement and civil rights history and its leaders both young and old.
Civil Right Movement Moments
From the Montgomery Bus Boycott, school integrations, and Selma to Montgomery marches. These stories and histories we can share. I am telling my kids of the brave little girls named Ruby Bridges, Leona Tate, Gail Etienne, and Tessie Prevost. How Federal Marshals escorted the first African Americans young girls to attend formerly white-only schools in New Orleans. Even though the Brown v. Board of Education decision was finalized in 1954 declared state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students to be unconstitutional. These young girls needed protection from angry people who did not want a young black girl to go to school with their white children.
I Have A Dream Speech
We are going to listen to the famous I Have a Dream speech. When my kids hear the words from I have a dream speech, I want to them to understand that it is not just words and how the speech is important even today. This speech brought awareness to an issue that African-Americans still were not treated as equals and this was going on for many years.
The I have a dream speech took place in the shadow of the Lincoln Memorial. Martin Luther King gave his speech there too because it was there President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. He wanted to share that even hundreds of years later things have not improved to really make things equal among all races and how we are not races are not being treated as humans. And this speech also helped Congress move faster in passing the Civil Rights Act 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Opening a Discussion
This is also a chance to talk and help my kids navigate and keep out the harmful impact of prejudice and discrimination. Taking the time in expanding their awareness similarities and differences racial beyond themselves, so they can grow and be in diverse settings and be open to and respectful of all kinds of people they may encounter no matter the color of their skin. So, as they grow they will empathy towards those who are treated unfairly in racial situations and recognize racial injustices. Encouraging them to have confidence in themselves and their racial identity. And to stand up not only for themselves but others as well.
I also recommend checking out this book (affiliate link) – Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as Martin Luther King day is coming up. This is a great book for parents with elementary age kids. Books are a great way to open dialogue and discussion for parents and kids. Also if you want to learn more about the American Civil Rights Movement as well.
So I hope you take this day to as not another holiday but a day to foster learning of a great leader who spoke out against injustice and spoke of equality for all.
For my Indianapolis folks, here are Indianapolis places to check that day learn more about MLK Jr. or take advantage of the this holiday.