How One Mother Teaches the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King

Many businesses and schools close in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. It is a national day to recognize the great American civil rights leader. For parents, it is also a time to teach children about character, kindness, equality, and understanding the needs of others. For Macova McCaskill, a learning coach from South Carolina, the legacy of Dr. King is personal to her.

“What I love about Dr. King was he was a peaceful man. He had faith in his Christian beliefs and expressing oneself through non-violence and peaceful protests,” said McCaskill.

Even though Dr. King’s civil rights movement was before McCaskill was born, she learned of his legacy through her mother, who was in attendance for his 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech.

“The ‘I Have a Dream’ speech was so touching even though I know it was well before my time because it spoke of the United States of America being a country where we were free from segregation, racism, and to have peace among all people, and we are still struggling with that today,” said McCaskill. “It’s funny, I listen to all the stories that my mom tell and I’m in awe because that generation compared to our generation endured a lot and I feel that our generation as well as my children’s generation need to show more appreciation to the fact that there was a struggle at one point in the world and that these privileges and these freedoms that we have, we didn’t have them before.”

Now as a parent, Macova McCaskill is teaching her children the importance of following Dr. King’s legacy. There are times McCaskill says she will sit down with her family and listen to the “I Have a Dream” speech and talk about how it can be applied to their lives today, and how life has evolved since that speech was given. She also instills in her family the examples Dr. King lead life by.

“I and my family honor Dr. King by keeping our faith when times get hard or bad because everything won’t be easy, and nothing is handed to you. I try to instill the same values to those around me as he did so many years ago, that you can achieve or get over an obstacle without being violent, without being loud or rude,” said McCaskill.

McCaskill says Dr. King’s teachings are not about race, which can often be assumed. She says his lessons are relevant to everyone because we are one people. If you are wondering how you can honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on this important day, McCaskill stresses the importance of his messages of peaceful resistance, racial equality, love and joy for all mankind.

If you’re interested in hearing more from Macova McCaskill, you can listen to a one-on-one interview on the K12 On Learning podcast, available wherever you get your podcasts.

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