Amongst the many positive points about Martin Luther King, Jr., is the fact that he never backed down. Regardless of how difficult a challenge may have been, or the consequences to himself, he always stood up for what he believed was right. Enduring everything from physical abuse to taunts, suspicion about his motives to incarceration, he took to heart one of his most famous quotes: "In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."*
Upon hearing how several schools in my area are not celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and how several other schools had planned on doing so but had class instead in order to make up snow days, I was appalled. It took many years for our local schools to begin recognizing this holiday; growing up, we never did in my school. Most of the recognition for this day has been through business sales, and that is just not acceptable.
Most of the homeschoolers I know are celebrating Dr. King’s life and achievements this week, and we are no exception. I hope that every parent will do the same, whether your school district does or doesn’t. Discussing this great man is one of the best ways we can teach about history, tolerance, acceptance, racism, freedom, and so many other things that remain relevant to our lives today.
In preparation for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, we decided to pick out a few books about Dr. King to learn more about this important man. One of the best age-appropriate books that I found for a kindergartener was David A. Adler’s A Picture Book of Martin Luther King, Jr. The text was simple and easy to understand, and the images were interesting and covered plenty of historically significant events without being scary or overwhelming.
That said, the book is a little dry; there are few descriptions of how King really felt growing up. These would surely be speculative anyway, for sure, but it’s important for children to understand how racism makes people feel, and just how important it is to stand up against it.
January 15, 2012, would have been Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s 83rd birthday. This great leader lost his life in 1968, at only 39 years of age, but the good works he did during his lifetime have had a positive impact on his generations and the generations that followed. Ronald Reagan, during his presidency, declared Martin Luther King, Jr., Day to be a holiday. It is now observed throughout the United States on January 16th.