Monday, January 16, 2012

Celebrating Dr. King

I'm sure like all of you, I was required to take a speech class in college.  On the first day, after reviewing the syllabus, our professor showed us a video of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech.  I had heard this speech before, and knew what Martin Luther King stood for, and knew a little about his life, but I had no idea the magnitude of this speech.  There was just something about watching the clip of that speech that resonated with me.  It was so powerful.  And so well written.  And so eloquently spoken.  By the end of the speech, I was fighting back tears.  As a white woman living in a suburban town in the midwest, I see so much of Dr. King's dream coming true.  I'm sure there are African Americans who disagree with me, as they see racist and prejudice in their daily lives that I do not.  But there is no doubt that America is in a better place than it was 50 years ago.  

My students, like me in college, do not understand the powerful message Dr. King fought for.  They will not understand, I believe, until they are much older.  It is unfathomable to them that black boys and girls had to go to different schools, drink from different water fountains, and swim in different pools.  I wanted to find a book to at least try to get them to understand.  

I found My Dream of Martin Luther King by Faith Ringgold.  First of all, the illustrations in this book are amazing.  I was not familiar with author/illustrator Faith Ringgold before.  After reading this book a few times, I instantly wanted to run out and buy every single book she has written and illustrated.  This book walks you through the story of Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement through the narrator's dream.  It starts off and ends with people trading in bags of racism, prejudice, and ignorance for bags of tolerance and hope.  This is a great picture book for middle grades, because not only do you get a great story with great illustrations, but it is also a great book to teach about symbolism.  

If this book does not exist in your classroom library, type your way over to Amazon as fast as you can!  

Happy Birthday, Dr. King.  


  1. I can't listen to the speech without tearing up either. He was an amazing speaker.

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