Why Do We Go to School on MLK Day?

“Why do we go to school on Martin Luther King Day?”  I heard that once or twice on Monday (and saw it a bit on Twitter, too).

When President Barack Obama proclaimed January 18th a Federal Holiday, he did so while urging: “I encourage all Americans to observe this day with appropriate civic, community, and service projects in honor of Dr. King and to visit www.MLKDay.govto find Martin Luther King, Jr., Day of Service projects across our country.”

This year, we invited Dr. Michael Thurston, Professor of English Language and Literature at Smith College to campus. His presentation tied MLK’s legacy to contemporary works by writer Ta-Nehesi Coates (author of 2015 National Book Award for nonfiction winner BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME), poet Robin Coste Lewis (author of the 2015 National Book Award for poetry winner THE VOYAGE OF THE SABLE VENUS), and hip hop recording artist Kendrick Lamar ( his 2015 work, TO PIMP A BUTTERFLY, received a number of critical accolades).

Dr. King’s work represents Community, Integrity, Respect, and Leadership. As components of our CIRLCE values, these ideals provide a lens through which we can understand and continue a dialogue about his ideas. We’ll do even better job of educating our school population about Dr. King’s legacy and engaging in service in the future.  I have challenged our School Administration to come up with an appropriate civic, community, and service project for The MacDuffie School to undertake in 2017.