Jan 18, 2021, is the 26th official Martin Luther King Jr. Day. This federal holiday encourages all Americans to positively contribute to their communities through volunteering, and it’s observed in memory of civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr.
It’s also an excellent time to educate children about this monumental activist and to have open conversations about civil rights. Heading into MLK day, here is some important information to keep in mind.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Baptist minister and social activist. He led the civil rights movement in the U.S. in the 1950s and 1960s until his assassination in 1968. Through his nonviolent protests and keynote speeches, he helped abolish the legal segregation in parts of the United States.
MLK is most known for leading peaceful protests, like the March on Washington. One of his most famous speeches is the 1963 speech “I Have a Dream”, in which he shares his dream of a country without racism and segregation. For his powerful impact on the civil rights movement, MLK was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. Unfortunately, MLK was assassinated in 1968 and died in the hospital that day.
Having Family Conversations About MLK
While many schoolchildren do learn about MLK in school, it’s still beneficial to have family conversations about him. It’s critical that children of all races and ages understand the profound impact MLK had on the country and world.
When talking about MLK, you may also need to address heavy topics that include racism and assassination. Of course, your conversation should be age-appropriate. A great way to ensure that is to allow your child’s questions to guide the conversation. If you are unsure of how to answer a question your child has, consider researching the answer together.
Family conversations about MLK can still be filled with joy and fun. In addition to teaching kids about MLK and how he impacted the world, you can also do activities that celebrate his life. Some ideas include:
- Read a children’s book about MLK.
- Watch a movie or documentary about MLK or social justice.
- Watch MLK’s speeches on YouTube.
- Volunteer together on MLK Day. There are many safe ways to volunteer during the pandemic that you can even do from your home.
- Create a Martin Luther King, Jr. art collage.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day memorializes the social justice icon for his hard work and positive contributions to society. It’s the perfect time to have meaningful conversations with kids of all ages about MLKs achievements and about social justice as a whole. There are many different age-appropriate activities and conversation points you can include in your family conversation about Martin Luther King Jr, but it’s most important to answer your kids’ questions openly and honestly.