This day for me was not merely a national holiday but a holy day where I got to honor sacred rhythms of rest and contemplation.
Reflecting on King’s legacy, I recalled that my earliest childhood learnings about him where fraught with bellyache-inducing worry and fear about the KKK and other white supremacists who brutalized, jailed and ultimately assassinated MLK and fellow Civil Rights activists. By my teens, the quickening in my gut turned into quiet groans of exasperation and impatient disinterest at the same regurgitated stories.
In all fairness, it wasn’t was limited to King — history, categorically, was made boring by the majority of my teachers, in both the public + private schools I attended.
What I ask now, as a parent, devoted learner, homeschool educator and facilitator who values and cultivates liberating spaces:
Whom does it serve to keep us bored, disinterested, fearful, anxious and disconnected from the histories of our people?
“Most of the “brethren” think that education should equip them with the proper instruments of exploitation so that they can forever trample over the masses…
Education must also train one for quick, resolute and effective thinking. To think incisively and to think for one’s self is very difficult. We are prone to let our mental life become invaded by legions of half truths, prejudices, and propaganda. At this point, I often wonder whether or not education is fulfilling its purpose. A great majority of the so-called educated people do not think logically and scientifically. Even the press, the classroom, the platform, and the pulpit in many instances do not give us objective and unbiased truths.
To save man from the morass of propaganda, in my opinion, is one of the chief aims of education.
Education must enable one to sift and weigh evidence, to discern the true from the false, the real from the unreal, and the facts from the fiction…
We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education…If we are not careful, our colleges will produce a group of close-minded, unscientific, illogical propagandists, consumed with immoral acts. Be careful, “brethren!” Be careful, teachers!”
— Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., The Purpose of Education
Thinking of all the WHOs, WHATs and WAYs that MLK’s life may have been inspired by, intersected with and inspired the stories/creators of stories represented in this sample selection of books we have read over the years.
I curate my kiddo’s learning in ways that bring context and build connections between people and events in our (ever-unfolding) history.
Read the full text here: The Purpose of Education