Next week, on August 28th, we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s most well-known speech, “I Have A Dream“.
(Just take a look at those snazzy cuff links!)
Behind the Book holds a special place for Dr. King and his fight for civil rights. As he said that fine summer day, “one day this nation will rise up, live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” This 50-year old declaration of equality reminds us that the foundation of justice is an acknowledgement of everyone’s humanity and of the potential we all have to create beauty in the world. For us at BtB, this is manifested in our emphasis on culturally relevant literature and identity-affirming projects, which show our students that their voices and experiences are valued and beautiful.
Just as important, is our work to develop our students reading and writing abilities. The ability to communicate what is lying within each of us, and, as our mission says, the freedom that comes from the ability to read and think independently, is perhaps the most essential tenet of equality.
In honor of this era-defining speech, we will be paying a series of tributes leading up to the anniversary next Wednesday. We will include an interview with one of our dedicated civil rights authors, a Behind the Book’s pick of the best civil rights literature for kids of all ages, and include examples of our student work that defines what “I Have A Dream” means to them 50 years after its deliverance.
Today, we highlight the work of Chardonnay, a bright third grader from one of our schools. After her class read Alvin Ailey, they worked with the author Andrea Pinkney to write their own biographies of their favorite historical subject.
For more information on this program, feel free to check it out here.
Pictured below is Chardonnay’s biography of Martin Luther King, featured in the final version of the third graders book, Third Grade Wonderful Biographies. Chardonnay perfectly understood Ms. Pinkney’s lesson on how to choose the right facts for a biography. Included in her biography are facts that pique the reader’s interest, such as:
-Did you know that Dr. King achieved such exemplary scores in high school school that he skipped both his Ninth and Twelfth grade year?
Or how about:
-Along with his church choir, Dr. King sang at the 1939 premiere of the now infamous movie, Gone With the Wind?
Read the rest of Chardonnay’s biography below to learn more.
To check out more of the student biographies, take a look at our gallery on BehindtheBook.org.