Friday, January 13, 2012

Remembering Dr. King

Like many schools, we have off Monday in recognition of Dr. Martin Luther King.  I'm sure we could debate the validity of whether schools should be closed on this day or what is the best way to remember Dr. King's contributions and the movement he clearly defined.


No matter what I was working with students on surrounding the King holiday, I privileged time to discuss with learners potential meanings behind the holidays.  To support our conversation, I shared with students an extended excerpt from Michael Eric Dyson's concluding chapter in I May Not Get There With You. 


Among other comments in this concluding chapter, Dyson talks about the King holiday and offers his opinion on how the day should be celebrated.  I tend to agree with his position.

When we celebrate the King holiday, we do not simply celebrate the life of Martin Luther King.  We celebrate individuals like Ella Baker and Fannie Lou Hamer, Bob Moses and Charles Sherrod, Septima Clark and Harry Moore, Emmett Till and Medgar Evans, Victoria Gray and Malcolm X, Roy Wilkins and Whitney Young, Angela Davis and Huey Newton, Mickey Schwerner and James Chaney, Andy Goodman and Bayard Rustin, Viola Liuzzo and James Reeb, Addie Mae Collins and Carole Robertson, Denise McNair and Cynthia Wesley, Julian Bond and John Lewis, Andrew Young and Ralph Abernathy, Hosea Williams and Jesse Jackson, Diane Nash and James Bevel, Dorothy Cotton and Johnnie Tillmon, and legions of other souls who sought to bring justice and freedom to Southern black doors and Northern project apartments.  We celebrate King's insistence that "injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere," as we extend his radical legacy to embrace citizens who are oppressed...