Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Use MLK to Help Children Navigate through Today’s Violent World.

Violence in urban areas continues to hurt communities everywhere. The residue of senseless gun violence is difficult for adults to process and even harder for children. I live in the number one most dangerous city in American according to the 2012 FBI’s 25 most dangerous cities in America list. Many children in my city have lost a parent, family member, or friend to gun violence. My step-daughter’s has a friend whose mother was shot and killed. Can you imagine losing your mother at the age of 6? I admire that little girl’s strength and wonder how she processes the death of mother. My husband’s friend was murder right in front of him when he was 13 years old. At age 30 he still struggles with what he witness and the loss of his friend in such a horrific way. Unfortunately for urban communities this is all too normal. Children experience unnatural deaths all around them and they are expected to fully function in school as if it never happened. There is no greater shock when children are the victims of senseless crime such as the children of Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut. I can’t even begin to wrap my head around how Sandy Hook children move forward from the massacre they experienced. Violence in our nation has truly scarred and stained our history. Whether it was violence during the Civil Rights Era or now, the root of is HATE. One man who had a dream of a non-violent nation and knew the only thing that could conquer hate/violence is love. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. changed history forever operating in love and that same principle can help us change the future.
Martin Luther King Jr. was such a visionary and game changer that you can’t even begin to scratch the surface of what he embodied. Teaching about him on his national holiday should be more than about what he did for African Americans during the Civil Rights Movement or viewed as just a day for African Americans; his legacy is for everyone. This year teach your child or students the principles Dr. King promoted and the accomplishments he achieved based on those principles. Discuss the violence your child or students have experienced or seen in the media. Discuss how Dr. King’s principles could have helped in those situations and how they can react to violence or bullying the way Dr. King did. Use this day to teach how Dr. King’s teachings can be applied across races, cultures, and genders. Have students or your child commit to a non-violent lifestyle and create their own dream for their home, city, state, and country.  So this month don’t just inform students about MLK and what he did in history help them to see how his legacy can continue through them.  –Sunkisses Candid
Here is a list of books about Dr. King and his wife Coretta:
·         Coretta Scott by Ntozake Shange illustrated by Kadir Nelson
·         I Have a Dream by Martin Luther King Jr. illustrated by Kadir Nelson
·         Dare to Dream: Coretta Scott King and the Civil Rights Movement by Angela Shelf Medearis illustrated by Anna Rich
·         Coretta Scott King: First Lady of Civil Rights by George E. Stanley illustrated by Meryl Henderson
·         Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by Doreen Rappaport illustrated by Bryan Collier
·         Thank You, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.! by Eleanora Tate
·         I Have A Dream by Martin Luther King Jr.
·         My Brother Martin: A Sister Remembers Growing Up with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by Christine King Farris illustrated by Chris Soentpiet
·         March On!: The Day My Brother Martin Changed the World by Christine King Farris illustrated by London Ladd
·         As Good as Anybody: Martin Luther King and Abraham Joshua Heschel's Amazing March Toward Freedom  by Richard Michelson illustrated by Raul Colon 
Ntozake Shange (Author)
·         Visit Amazon's Ntozake Shange Page
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·         See search results for this author
·         Are you an author? Learn about Author Central
·         See search results for this author
·         Are you an author? Learn about Author Central


  1. This is very inspiring and great advice for what to teach all our children about MLK. I struggled with how to talk about MLK to my young son who lives in a time and place where he is not daily witness to the struggles that were commonplace 30 years ago. But now I know what my focus should be. Thank you for this wonderful insight.