We discuss this every year: what role should children play in our society? Should they just have fun, enjoy themselves, and “be a kid?” Or should they be active and involved, using their idealism and yet-to-be-stomped-on-by-adulthood enthusiasm to do good. Should they have a purpose? A cause?
The idealist in me screams – “Yes!!! Do SOMETHING!!” But the guardian also wants kids to enjoy themselves and not take life too seriously. Can we do both?
Regardless, we today we used an example from the spring of 1963. During the Civil Rights Movement, Dr. King visited the famed 16th St. Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. He asked for people to stand up to segregation and the racism that was permitted (and unprosecuted) by marching. This would result in going to jail, and Dr. King believed that filling and overwhelming the jails in peaceful protest could send a powerful message.
Adults had grown tired of fighting. Their efforts had brought little change, and it typically resulted in more violence and maltreatment. The only people to stand up were children. Kids from as young as 8 up to their mid-teens. Our students ages. The result is a moving story of how kids organized, motivated one another, took a stand, and persevered though some awful treatment.
You can find info about the video here, which is available to educators for free. If you are one, or know one, it’s a MUST HAVE.
In addition, here’s a video clip available on youtube to give you an example of this great, great video: