Sunday, August 31, 2008

"I Have a Dream"

Last week I was talking with the girls about the 45th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I have a dream" speech. They wanted to hear it, so I found it on YouTube.

And then we had again the same conversation we have every January, when the schools celebrate MLK Day:

Q: Where would I sit on the bus, Mama?

A: It would depend, sweetie. In some places, everyone who wasn't white had to sit at the back of the bus. In other places, only those who were African-American had to sit at the back of the bus. But remember that those rules have changed . . . .

Q: I KNOW (in the Duh! tone of voice). That was a bad rule. I'm glad Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. helped change the rule.

A: Me, too. He and lots of other people worked hard to change those rules. They were very brave.

Q: I like sitting at the back of the bus.

A: Yes, I know, but the problem back then was that people couldn't sit where they wanted to sit on the bus. And you had to stand up and give your seat to a white person if he or she wanted your seat.

Q: So we couldn't sit with you, Mama?

A: I guess not (it doesn't seem to occur to them that I wouldn't have been allowed to adopt them at all in those days!).

Q: I'm glad they changed the rules.

A: Me, too, sweetie.

And through it all, Maya is serenading us with "The Wheels on the Bus!" No, she's not completely indifferent to the civil rights struggles of the '60s -- she's working up to the relevant verse:

The driver on the bus says

Move on back, move on back, move on back

The driver on the bus says

Move on back

All through the town

Rosa Parks says

I won't go, I won't go, I won't go

Rosa Parks says

I won't go

All through the town!


Wendy said...

Are we living dual lives? lol

Madeline has learned about MLK and Rosa too. We have books about both and discuss the speeches/the movement, etc. Thank you for posting the YouTube, we have the speech at home on DVD, but I think a lot of the other readers would really like to share it with their kiddos.

Do you have the children's book about Rosa Parks? I think we got it at B&N. Madeline picks it out for nightly reading at least once a week--she always likes to say Thank you Rosa!

You never can start to young teaching about injustice, I only wish they didn't have any to face--with time/persistance, and facing the challenges maybe one day we can say it is over (I hope at least in their lifetime).

malinda said...

We have two books about MLK -- Free at Last, and MLK In His Own Words. Zoe read Free at Last to us on the way to school after seeing the "I have a dream" speech!

We don't have the Rosa Parks book --I'll definitely be on the lookout for it.