When I think about a historical figure who made a positive impact on the world, Martin Luther King Jr. is the first person who pops into my head. From his “I Have a Dream Speech” to his involvement in the Montgomery Bus Boycott, his words and his actions are forever ingrained in our culture. As a credentialed teacher and a mom, here are five of the biggest life lessons I think we can learn from the life of Martin Luther King Jr.
Violence is Not the Answer
According to thekingcenter.org, during the fight for “equality for African-Americans in the United States” some “were advocating for freedom by ‘any means necessary,’ including violence.” However, Martin Luther King Jr. used non-violent methods “such as protests, grassroots organizing, and civil disobedience” to spark change. We are a nation with a violent history. However, Dr. King showed us that violence is not necessary to make a difference.
Stand Up for What you Believe In
Dr. King stood up for what he believed in, even when it wasn’t easy. For instance, during the Montgomery Bus Boycott, some African Americans boycotted the buses for over a year (381 days) before the Supreme Court deemed racial segregation on transportation as unconstitutional. King was the spokesman for the boycott and his actions helped make the boycott a successful one. Standing up for what you believe in isn’t always easy. It isn’t always popular. However, it speaks volumes about a person.
King may have believed in non-violent methods of protests. However, he was not passive in his pursuits for equality. He spoke out against inequality and delivered several influential speeches that are often quoted, most notably the “I Have a Dream Speech” and the “Letter from the Birmingham Jail.” He may have taken non-violent approaches but he was not passive. He organized sit-ins, demonstrations, boycotts and civil rights’ marches.
Martin Luther King was a man of great faith. According to goodreads.com, the baptist minister once said, “Faith is taking the first step even when you can’t see the whole staircase.” He didn’t know if his efforts would lead to change, however, he put his heart and soul into the civil rights movement. I believe that having faith is one of the most powerful ways a person can combat life’s struggles.
Don’t Let Obstacles Stand in Your Way
King had plenty of supporters. However, there were plenty of people who were against him. People criticized him for being “weak.” He was imprisoned several times. There were times where his actions were unsuccessful or resulted in people being injured. Take for instance, the downtown Birmingham demonstration. According to biography.com, “King was personally criticized by black and white clergy alike for taking risks and endangering the children who attended the demonstration.” Despite obstacles like these, King pressed on to achieve his dreams.
More from Melissa:
Martin Luther King Jr. Writing Activities
Children’s Activities for Black History Month
Women Who Changed History: Children’s Activities for Women’s History Month