At the end of January, I put together a short PowerPoint presentation to celebrate the life/contribution of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and acknowledge the beginning of Black History Month. The presentation was to a group of people who work with college students. My original idea for this post was to upload the presentation. That was much easier said than done, so I’m just going to sum it up for you.
My charge was for us as a group to remember to encourage our students to believe that they can change the world. To reinforce this notion, I highlighted the efforts of children, teens and college students throughout the Civil Rights Movement.
- The Freedom Rides in 1961 consisted of college students (Black and White) who challenged segregation laws in the South. Numerous participants were attacked and arrested.
- The Children’s Crusade in Birmingham (1963) consisted of young people taking up the mantle and marching because Dr. King and the adults had been put in jail.
- Freedom Summer in 1964 consisted of a major effort to register Blacks to vote in Mississippi. Shortly after it began, three young men were brutally murdered by the Ku Klux Klan.
College students in the United States played a major role in how our nation eventually spoke out against apartheid in South Africa. Young people in Egypt are fighting for independence as I type these words.
Don’t let anyone trick you into believing that your voice doesn’t matter because you are “too young.” There are numerous examples throughout history and even in the Bible of young people who were a force to be reckoned with. They had the courage to stand up for what they believed in.
P.S. This message is just as relevant for those of us who have been told that we are “too old.”
(The song I chose to accompany the presentation was Sweet Honey in the Rock’s rendition of “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around.” Click here for the YouTube video.)