Monday, January 18, 2010

Happy MLK Day

This week Jack (4) informed me that he knew about someone who was "very very important." Intrigued, I asked the obvious question: "who?" Jack then went on to tell me about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in a run-on, stream-of-conscience train of thought that lasted about three minutes.

It went something like this: (Note, imagine the following said with a NY accent - apparently Jack is from the Bronx).

"Well, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is an important man because he helped the Brown people. The Brown people had to drink the bad water and the White people had to drink the good water. Then the Brown people had to sit in the back of the bus and White people sat in the front. Martin Luther King Jr. said that was wrong. He had a dream that all people would be friends. He fought with his brain and he fought with this mouth, and he marched all around the country talking about the Brown people. He wanted everything to be fair. Mommy, were you alive then? What about when George Washington lived?"

Minus his last two questions, I was pretty impressed with my child and what he retained from the lesson. And I'm glad Dr. King's legacy is being discussed from an early age. I have to admit, I personally don't know much about him beyond the basics, but I WAS surprised to find out what a fight it was to establish MLK Day as a national holiday. I just assumed it was a no-brainer given his contribution to the America people. Apparently not. And, when finally signed into law in 1983, only 27 states and the District of Columbia adopted it. (The last state to sign on was South Carolina some 17 years later!) Figures.

So as you rest or do whatever you're doing on this Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2010, remember what Dr. King lived for and all that he sacrificed in the name of equality. Click for a brief history of MLK Day from TIME magazine.

By the way, we ended the conversation by me telling Jack that I was proud of him for being able to re-tell the story of an important man in history. Jack replied, "Yeah Mommy, just like Rudolph. He went down in history too." I couldn't make this stuff up.

Photo, courtesy of Primrose School, is of Jack teaching his class about Dr. King.

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