Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a special time to remember the sacrifices made to help bring racial equality to America. Help your family understand the importance of these events with a lesson from the children's book She Stood for Freedom.
To teach children the importance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the Civil Rights Movement.
"I have no doubt that the 20th century will go down in history as the century of rights: voting rights, workers’ rights, civil rights, human rights, privacy rights, disability rights, and many more. With these rights in place, I can only hope that the 21st century will someday go down in history as the century of duties: civic duties, human duties, fiduciary duties, religious duties, environmental duties, and duties to future generations" (John W. Welch “Thy Mind, O Man, Must Stretch” May 17, 2011 BYU Speeches).
"Have I Done Any Good?" (Hymns pg. 223)
"For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
"Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law" (Romans 13:9-10).
For more on this topic, read "Standing Tall" by Bishop H. David Burton.
It was 1952, and Joan Trumpauer Mulholland was going to spend the summer with her cousin Mary and her grandma Chandler in Georgia. It was hot, and seeking adventure, Mary convinced Joan to go explore what their grandmother had forbidden—the area beyond the Coca-Cola bottling plant.
When they came across a black neighborhood, Joan was saddened to see that, due to segregation, the schoolhouse was a one-room structure with only a stove in the middle to keep the children and teacher warm during the winter. This experience convinced Joan she needed to do something about the racial inequality in America.
As Joan grew up, she decided to participate in the Civil Rights Movement in 1960. She participated in sit-ins, or demonstrations were people sat at a lunch counter at a segregated restaurant to protest injustice. When she tried to participate in the Freedom Rides, where white and black people rode buses together, she was arrested and sent to Hinds County Jail and later spent two months in Parchman Prison, one of the most notorious prisons of the time for Civil Rights supporters.
But Joan knew what she was doing to bring about racial equality was right. She continued to protest to help her friends and even met Martin Luther King Jr., a man famous for leading the Civil Rights Movement.
Eventually, the government passed the Civil Rights Act on July 2, 1964, which outlawed the racial discrimination Joan and her friends worked so hard to end.
To explain why she stood up for what was right even when it wasn't popular, Joan said, "You can never go wrong by doing what is right. It might not be easy, but it is always right."
- Discuss with your children times you've had to stand up for what's right even when it was difficult.
- Ask your children how they can help others even if it's unpopular.
- Discuss ways your children can stand up for the gospel even when it's unpopular to do so.
Test your knowledge historical and teach your children about the importance of the Civil Rights Movement with a Martin Luther King Day online quiz. Make it a competition with the team with the highest score taking home the prize!