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A Day With a King

What do your kids know about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.? Have you ever taken a family trip to The King Center?

I like those indoor jumpy places on rainy days. When it’s sunny my family loves going to the park. We’ve been known to take a or twenty. But recently, we went on a field trip to The King Center. Even though I’ve been dozens of times, I was surprised at how moved I was and how much my kids enjoyed the day.

Six miles from Decatur is The Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change. Kids all ages can find things of interest.  We learned about the vibrant Auburn Avenue community and home life of the King family. The park ranger told us of the games and pranks young Martin like to play with his siblings. We heard speeches and watched videos play throughout the center. There are interactive exhibits that teach about Dr. King’s work and its lasting impact around the world.

A full visit will include:

  • Tour of Fire Station No. 6 and information about the community around the time of Dr. King’s childhood.
  • View the inside Dr. King’s Birth Home and compare it to how we live today.
  • Walk through the original Ebenezer Baptist Church and hear some of Dr. King’s sermons.
  • Reflect at Dr. King’s Crypt in an outdoor fountain. Close to Freedom Hall and the Eternal Flame.
  • Learn about the Civil Rights Movement at the Visitor Center.

As an adult, I understand that Dr. King’s legacy is tied to race, equality, politics, and economy. For my kids it is different. Race is still a question mark for them.

None of the children on the trip giggled all day. You might think that race is an uncomfortable subject for them. That’s only for us grownups. They took the whole experience seriously.

My second grader asked me, ", would I have had to sit in the back of the bus? Would I have had to drink out of the colored fountain?"

Her younger sister argued, "No." But I explained that we are black. Having brown or tan skin would have sent you to the back of the bus. They were holding hands with their friends from school. .

They didn’t seem embarrassed at all, but almost proud. As though with the help of some unseen angel named Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. they’d been able to overcome. I think they have.

Most of pictures included were taken by my seven-year-old daughter. Take a look at what The King Center looks like through a child’s eyes. If you get a chance, take your kids there and see what they think.

john penn January 13, 2012 at 06:32 PM
Many will remember the man; few will remember the message as evidenced by the excessive materialism and lack of caring that is so prevalent. Hopefully we can turn things around before it's too late. Peace.

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