Monday, January 17, 2022 is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, honoring one of the most important leaders and thinkers in American history. Dr. King was an American Baptist minister and activist who became the most visible spokesman and leader in the American civil rights movement from 1955 until his assassination in 1968. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a great opportunity to reflect on Dr. King’s work, increase our understanding of his legacy, and take action to ensure freedom and justice for all people. Celebrating and building on Dr. King’s legacy is not limited to one day a year! May the momentum from the January holiday carry us into February’s Black History Month celebrations and beyond: into a daily practice of working towards collective liberation.
Here are some resources to explore and share and to inspire ongoing action:
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute supports a broad range of educational activities illuminating Dr. King’s life and the movements he inspired. The Institute website includes links to documents, other sites, curriculum, and opportunities for further connections.
Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park in Atlanta, GA includes the places where Dr. King was born, lived, worked, worshipped, and is buried. Come hear his story, visit the home of his birth, and where he played as a child. Walk in his footsteps, and hear his voice in the church where he moved hearts and minds. Marvel at how he was an instrument for social change. Even if you cannot get to Atlanta, the website includes Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Legacy of Racial and Social Justice: A Curriculum for Empowerment
Learning for Justice (formerly Teaching Tolerance) also has some great resources for educators/mentors. Its collection of lessons, teachable texts and further reading helps educators bring the work of Dr. King to life in any learning setting.
“I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”
Dr. King is known for his speeches and writings. Here is a link to some of his memorable quotations. Make sure to research the source of the quotation to gain an understanding of the context in which Dr. King said or wrote it.
The Arts provide an embodied connection with Dr. King’s legacy.
Check out the movie Selma, a 2014 historical drama film directed by Ava DuVernay and written by Paul Webb. It is based on the 1965 Selma to Montgomery voting rights marches initiated and directed by James Bevel and led by Martin Luther King Jr., Hosea Williams, and John Lewis.
Many artists have been inspired by Dr. King’s work, including Faith Ringgold, an Artist-activist who illustrated King’s Letter from Birmingham City Jail in eight serigraphs.
Other ways to take action throughout the year:
Support organizations working on voting rights.
Support Black-owned businesses: