Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – Teaching Children Why His Life Impacts Them Today

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. - Helping Children To Understand Why His Life Impacts Them Today - charlenebullard.com. - charlenewrites.com - purposedrivencharlene.com
2 min read

As an educator, I sometimes wonder if my students truly understand the significance of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  After a lesson and discussion about the leader’s life, his “I Have A Dream” speech, also segregation, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and the fight for Civil Rights, some of my students still think that it was a very long time ago. They think that timed have changed and it doesn’t affect them today.

I can understand their thinking, because their immature eyes and mind, see things that make them believe that Dr. King’s dream has come to pass. They see “White and Black children playing together” in some of their school yards. They don’t see visual “Whites Only” and “Blacks Only” signs in their communities. Also, they see black people and white people working together in business, sports, on television, in music, and more. To some children, things have changed since the time of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. And yes, some things have changed. Yet, one thing that has not, racism. The passage of the Civil Rights Act did not eradicate racism altogether.

For this reason, children need to be made aware.  They need to be educated on the significance of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King and the many other Civil Right leaders that fought for change.  We also need to show them that the fight continues.

And how do we do this?

Well, we can start by showing them the time that we are living in.  Have a conversation about current events, that show that the fight for equality is alive. Share with them the Charlottesville protest by White Supremacist, that turned into a racial brawl, killing a counterprotester. Talk to them about racial profiling. Teach them about the murders of Trayvon Martin , Michael Brown,  Sandra Bland, and the many other black men and women who were killed and received no justice. Lastly, show them our current political climate and the racism that exist in the leadership of our country.

Show them that the same injustices that Dr. King experienced are happening today and it impacts us all.

Afterward, let them know that they are the future generation. And they are the ones that will lead our country.  They are the ones that will use the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as an example of how to fight for equality and the rights of the people in our country. And they are the ones that will be charged with keeping Dr. King’s dream alive to bring about change.


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  1. 1

    Everything you say is true and I agree with you 100%.

    Too bad 45 is in the process of dismantling Dr. King’s dream. Sadly we are returning or really have returned to the days of Jim Crow. After what 45 said about Africans and Haitians we are going backwards in time. I was having a conversation with a co-worker from Ghana where this young man pointed out that what 45 said about Black countries was not said in a vacuum. Many Americans agree with him. Especially in the South and the Mid-west even in so-called Liberal New York where I live. We live in a country where the majority does not want us. This is an everyday reality. I clearly remember what my grandmother, aunts and of course my parents went through. Slowly but surely the Civil Rights we take for granted won’t be here much longer.

  2. 5

    It is extremely disheartening to me to see how far backwards things have gone. I guess the battle isn’t even partly won. Well at least soon the “majority” will be the “minority” and things will have to give!

    • 6

      Elizabeth, I feel the sam way. It is sad that we have gone back into time. I hope I’m around, long enough to see that shift in power. What a sight that will be to see! 🙂

  3. 7

    I so understand what you’re saying.My children have all seen the black history movies and have somewhat of an idea but don’t really know the importance. Raising a black son makes my heart weak in this society because we are perishing. My son asked me how, and I said through wrongful deaths, no justice system helping them, through job discriminations, and the idea that black people cannot work hard enough to have excellence. Loved your piece.

    • 8

      Thank you for reading and commenting. I enjoyed reading your comment. I showed my students a black history movie and they still can’t fathom that we are not living in that era. I try to explain to the although we are not living in the 1950s, 60s, we still have the same struggle with Civil Rights and equality. I’m learning that as long as I plant the seeds of knowledge, it will be watered and one day they will really understand out lesson. Thanks again for reading and sharing your comment. 🙂

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