As many of you are aware, today is the day we honor and celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We thought it would be nice to share two similar books that you might like to read or reread with your children today:
The first book is: I Have A Dream by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In this book you will find the full speech that Dr. King gave during the March on Washington on August 28, 1963.
The list of artists for this book are as follows: Ashley Bryan, Carole Byard, Wil Clay, Floyd Cooper, Pat Cummings, Leo & Diane Dillon, Tom Feelings, George Ford, Jan Spivey Gilchrist, Brian Pinkney, Jerry Pinkney, James E. Ransome, Terea Shaffer, and Kathleen Atkins Wilson. Each of these arts has received the Coretta Scott King Award.
The speech begins, "I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation..."
And ends with the now famous, "Free at last, free at last; thank God Almighty, we are free at last."
The second book is also entitled: I Have a Dream, includes a CD of Dr. King's original speech and is illustrated by the renowned artist Kadir Nelson.
In this version, however, you will only find the more popular part of Dr. King's Speech--the 'I Have a Dream' part.
"I have a dream that my four little children...."
No matter which book you choose, the message is still clear and true today. I, too, have hopes and dreams for the world in which my children will grow up to be a part of--not just in the future but today.
In reading the first book to my children I was reminded that Dr. King spoke out about a lot in the one speech. Because we focus on the end of it--his hopes and dreams for the future, many of us forget about what it takes: speaking the truth, facing our deficiencies and putting in hard work.
Here are a few segments from the earlier part of this speech that are often left out of our memories:
"...but one hundred year later, the Negro still is not free; one hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination; one hundred years later the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity...."
"...and so we have come here today to dramatize the shameful condition. In a sense we've come to our nation's capital to cash a check... It is obvious today that America has defaulted on the promissory note inso far as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check; a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt...and so we've come to cash this check...that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice."
"...We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. this is not time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promised of democracy; now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice; now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood; now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children. It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of this movement. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality."
"Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. And those who hope that the Negro needed to blog off steam and will now be content, will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual..."
"...and as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality...."Although much time as passed we can look around our nation and still see these same things happening regularly.
As we read, learn and reflect on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s life today, I hope that you're able to find ways to work along side your neighbors to make a better place for all of our children to live in. There is still much to be done. Figuring out just what to do and how to do it can be a challenge yet we must not turn a blind eye to it because we're uncomfortable or aren't sure how to proceed. It's high time that we put in the hard work and make changes--beginning with ourselves and our children then extending our our communities.
Are you already involved in movement work? What are the practices that you're engaged in? What activities, conversations and lessons are you involving your children in? I am so interested in hearing your stories and experiences. I invite you to share them below or email me later.
What books are you reading today; this week? We'd love to hear your recommendations. Take a moment to share them below or link up and join us this year in Book Sharing Monday.