His words ring out - Martin Luther King Jr. is remembered Island-wide
It's been 45 years since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. and gave his historic "I Have a Dream" speech. Today, Dr. King's words still resonate throughout a country still working to make his dream come true.
Monday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day. In honor of the man and his message, schools across the Island remembered Dr. King recently.
The Chilmark School incorporated a lesson on Dr. King into a morning meeting, and poster of the speech, a timeline of Dr. King's life, and pictures of him were also prominently displayed in the school's foyer.
Teacher Jack Regan led discussions about Dr. King's life in a mixed class of second- and third-graders. "I think in this day and age, it's very important to understand freedom comes at a price," Mr. Regan said. He said the children need to look at what others had to sacrifice to ensure the freedoms we enjoy today.
The Oak Bluffs School also honored Dr. King's work at their morning meetings, which included performances, celebrations, student music, poetry and excerpts from plays. The lessons will continue during black history month in February. Assistant principal Gina Patti said that in this time of war and conflict, Dr. King can serve as a role model for peaceful change.
Librarian Patricia Ryan of the Tisbury School used the occasion to teach her fourth-graders about the importance of taking a stand for what they believe in. She had the students study each of the states in the country and had them write about sites where freedom could ring out, like the mountains of New York state. For children looking for more information on Dr. King and civil rights, Ms. Ryan created a book display and bulletin boards for easy reference.
At the Edgartown School, grades celebrated in variety of ways. Kindergarten teacher Denise Searle had the little ones read "Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr." by Doreen Rappaport. Then they discussed the importance of the man and his contribution to peace and harmony among people. The also wrote about their own dreams for the world, which were quite impressive, Ms. Searle said.
Fifth-grade teacher Deborah Yapp had her students read and discuss the speech in its entirety.
At The Martha's Vineyard Public Charter School teacher Liz Bradley said the students engaged in discussions of the man and his life and learned two traditional African-American spirituals: "Swing Low" and "Glory, Glory Alleluia." The third-graders went to a dedication of the 20th site along the African American Heritage Trail on Jan. 17.
On Jan. 16, the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School held an assembly in the performing arts center where, after studying primary sources, students made speeches and presentations. Major General Joseph Carter, the first African-American commander of the Massachusetts National Guard was the guest speaker.
Like Ms. Ryan of the Tisbury School, the high school's librarian has created a display of books for black history month.
In 1968 Martin Luther King Jr. met an untimely, tragic death, but his message remains and endures.
Heather Curtis is a contributing writer to The Times.