Ways to Honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


Photoshop Composite C: Aaron Michaels

Johnathan Hampton, Writer

January 21st marks the continued celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s still-important legacy. Many of the rights and luxuries bestowed to us today are a direct result of the many sacrifices made by both he and his colleagues. Because of their endeavors, educational and social segregation are but a memory of the past; because of their work, many minorities, particularly African Americans, have a greater voice in local and national affairs, and so to recognize the dedication of our past leaders, it is important to preserve the values held by them. The biggest question, therefore, is how to go about doing so.

“I always try to make time during the day to remember what Dr. King did,” said Mrs. Dauma, an English teacher at Bob Jones, “I do that best by reading, re-reading, [or] finding something new that’s been produced by someone who has learned about his life. As a teacher, normally I try to work in one of my lessons about the Civil Rights work that he did. In AP Language in particular, I am usually able to fit in the ‘Letter from Birmingham Jail’, which is really amazing. It’s the best thing for high school students, I think, to learn from. We can take… [these] lessons to heart and…just take a minute in class to let students talk about it…as they are doing their analysis.” In history teacher Mr. Bryant’s classroom, students are analyzing the rhetorical significance of Dr. King and how he was able to captivate people with the power of his speech. Mrs. Huskey, the school librarian and media specialist, plans to honor the upcoming holiday by setting up “all kinds of book displays and information [in the library]” the week prior and also intends to share fun facts about Martin Luther King to students and teachers alike to promote awareness around the school.

It is clear that Dr. King’s legacy is actively being shared within the community of Bob Jones, but surely there are individuals who are looking for ways to honor him and his work outside of school. “In celebration, you could do something good for other people,” explained Mrs. Huskey, “If you’re like me and you enjoy shopping, you can support local businesses that are owned by African Americans. Of course, you could [always] read a book.” You can also honor the upcoming holiday by participating in local events. On January 19, the Men of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated are hosting a parade celebrating Dr. King in downtown Huntsville. The event lasts from noon to 2 p.m. and admission is free, so if you have an opening in your schedule, you should definitely consider coming out. If you are looking for a way to give back to the community, Madison City is hosting a Kids Kingdom Cleanup event at Dublin Park from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on January 21st in celebration of both Martin Luther King Jr. and the 150th anniversary of Madison, AL.

In addition to the presence of community-sponsored events, television is pulling its fair share of weight to spread awareness about Dr. King. The History Channel is airing multiple shows on January 21st, including a special titled Honor Deferred from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. and a special episode of 10 Things You Don’t Know About from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. APT Main is presenting a 2-part 4-hour special of Black America Since MLK: And Still I Rise from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on January 20th and a 30-minute showing of With Infinite Hope: MLK and the Civil Rights Movement starting at midnight on the 21st. Netflix offers a wide array of films and documentaries covering Civil Rights and African American Culture.

In all, there are numerous ways to pay homage to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., whether it be through community interaction, supporting local businesses, or edifying your knowledge about the Civil Rights Movement and or African American culture in general. “It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or complicated,” Mrs. Dauma explained, “ [just] take a moment to appreciate the fact that it’s not just a holiday from school. Be intentional about remembering [the sacrifices that have granted us the privileges we have today].”