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Learning from Dr. King's Legacy

Learning from Dr. King’s Legacy

This year, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day lands on Monday, January 17, but it is never too early or too late to do something good. Dr. King’s holiday celebrates the civil rights leader’s life by encouraging community service. Here are creative ways people of all ages can help the world around them in honor of Dr. King.

The Smithsonian Institution and Library of Congress are both looking for volunteers to digitally transcribe historical documents. The projects range from African American history and women’s suffrage to the personal letters and journals of historical figures. The digital transcriptions are aimed at helping to make the documents more widely available for the public and more accessible for people with vision impairments. You may also help MileStone Academy be a part of history by donating to our Baltimore or Bust Class Trip Fundraiser! Every penny counts, every dollar is appreciated.

MLK Day is also observed as a National Day of Service; “a day on, not a day off.” Even though Covid-19 is still quickly spreading through the country, there are still opportunities available for those who would like to volunteer in person. AmeriCorps has a searchable database of MLK day volunteer opportunities available around the country. Simply put in your zip code and click on the “MLK Day” box to find the projects available in your area.

If volunteering is not an option this year, considering donating to organizations working year-round to support the social justice causes Dr. King dedicated his life to.

As a society, public discussions about race and racism have increased in volume and intensity. Educators feel a sense of responsibility to bring these topics into their classrooms—because young people want to be part of the conversation and should be.  If managed effectively, these discussions supply opportunities for timely learning. From police-involved deaths of Black people to everyday racism to Confederate flag controversy, with sports figures and celebrities getting involved in the conversation, there is a lot to grapple with and discuss.

More than 50 years after his assassination in 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is remembered as an activist, a prominent leader in the civil rights movement, a pioneering historical Black figure, and a wordsmith. His impact is still felt today, as his daughter carries on his legacy, and we continue to look to him for strength when the fight for racial equality seems unending. Throughout his years of public service, the Nobel Peace Prize winner wrote and delivered speeches—the most notable being his 1963 “I Have a Dream” address—that provided wisdom that still holds true. Let us continue to learn from Dr. King’s legacy of courage, kindness, love, and unity.

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