Monday, January 21, 2008

In Rememberance of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

I over heard my 12 year old sister and her friend talking about their day off on Monday.
"I don't know why we're out. They didn't send home a notice or anything."

I was shocked beyond disbelief. I asked them three times if they were serious. I asked them their age and if they really didn't know what the significance of Monday's date was. My response "Get off of Myspace and google the date." Before they got to googling, they said "Oh it's it MLK's birthday or something like that?!" What a shame! If we didn't know anything about black history or any notable African American leader or figure, we all knew who Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was. Mainly because most people acted as if he was the only one who existed.

"Just for that, you have to read and listen to the I Have a Dream speech." We continued to watch the movie Boycott on BET. I am appalled that the school system has really failed our children in this regard. I can't imagine what else they've neglected to teach them. More importantly, I felt sad that she's my sister and didn't know the basics. Has she not learned anything from me? Well, it's a great time for learning and to teach her.

In high school I did a program where we retraced the steps of the Civil Rights Movement through the South. We ended where Rev. Dr. King was assassinated. As I stood looking out on the balcony where he last stood, listening to the museum's running track of his favorite Mahalia Jackson song, I felt overwhelmed with pride, grief, a sense of urgency and most of all a sense of responsibility. I cried and thought, 'It can't end here. This can't be over. We have so much more to do, to accomplish.' I have to revisit that moment in my mind to stay focused. It's easy to internalize issues and just accept where I stand on them, but it's another to some how effect change.

We have to know our past to go further in the future. We have to teach our children because they are the future.

Every time I hear, watch or read this speech, tears well in my eyes and my heart feels robust.

Letter from the Birmingham Jail, 1963


Kuuipo1207 said...

That really is a shame what the school systems are "teaching" (or lack thereof) now-a-days. I'm not if it's correct or not, but I had heard a rumor that schools were going to start teaching less history and more mathematics/science courses. If we don't learn about history, ALL of history, from every point of view that exists or existed, then how are we going to avoid making the same mistakes? Thank you for posting this, and reminding us all of the importance of MLK Day. :)

MsButterfli said...

this is seriously a problem. School systems are trying to slowly phase out certain curriculum that is very important for not just African American children but for children of all cultures. I think its sad, and since im at work Im gonna see if the children we have here realize the significance of this day as well.

nilla cookie said...

Hi Kia,

It's quite a shame that the younger generation are starting to be less and less in touch with the history that got us all here in the first place. Think about the hardships our races went through for so long to finally achieve some of the rights we have now.

I'm not an educator, but I hope that I take advantage of any opportunities I get to educate my cousins and someday my kids of my ancestor's wonderful stories of freedom.

Mrs. Lynne said...

This is a wonderful entry.

Anonymous said...

WOW! Our children are clueless at times, but thank GOD your sister has you to enlighten her. Although it is easy to blame the school system, we as parents are also at fault. How many of us arranged for our children to attend anything related to MLK, a musesum, library or searched the internet, as you did? I am going to ask my daughter today what MLK means to her, I am interested in what she will say.

Thanks for the entry....


yummy411 said...

TO EVERYONE: I whole heartedly agree with all of the comments posted..

i also try to make history relateable to my sister.. Grandma lived through all of this.. ask her about x,y, and z. Dad was x age at that time. I hope she doesn't think Rev. Dr. King's time was right after the dinosaurs--- she looks at Fresh Prince of Bel Air as before her time, throw back, or retro TV =/

rocketqueen said...

This is horrible! I can't believe this really happens! I'm pretty ashamed to say it but here in Sweden, I don't even think all college students even know who Martin Luther King is. How can that be?

Love this post. Thank you very much.


yummy411 said...

thanks rocketqueen!

Belle Cheveux said...

Great post! It's a sad shame for real. When I was in elementary school back in the day, we used to do projects about MLK and other famous figures in Black History. But now, teachers can't even assign these projects to younger children. There's so much more focus on standardized testing so the children don't learn about MLK, Coretta, or Rosa. It's sad when you ask a 8 year old: "Who is Martin Luther King?" and they shrug and say "I don't know."

yummy411 said...

belle cheveaux, thanks! yes as much as i feel responsible for my sister being clueless, i at least expected the school to do a decent job in basic education!!!