Many say education of King’s life, legacy remains critical for young people

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior Correspondent | 2/25/2020, 1:18 p.m.
More than a half-century after the death of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., many of America’s youth are still ...
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

More than a half-century after the death of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., many of America’s youth are still in the dark about the life and legacy of the nation’s foremost civil rights leader.

Brainly, the world’s largest online learning platform, recently surveyed more than 1,700 U.S. students to understand better what they know – and don’t know – about Dr. King, his life, and his legacy.

It turns out; the answer is not much.

According to the data, 63 percent of U.S. students incorrectly identified Dr. King’s accomplishments or were not aware of some of the most important things he did to contribute to America’s Civil Rights Movement.

As an example, the survey found that more than 25 percent of U.S. students said that he did not lead the Montgomery Bus boycott. Also, about 18 percent said they were not aware that Dr. King organized the famous “March on Washington.”

What’s more, a stunning 19 percent said Dr. King didn’t give his most famous speech, “I Have a Dream.”

In an email, Brainly officials told NNPA Newswire that its mission is to democratize education and ensure that all students have equal access to the resources they need to be academically successful.

The organization stated that this was particularly important ahead of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as the country and the world reflects on the major impact Dr. King had on the U.S. and the globe, and how his sacrifice has left an indelible impression on the cause for equality.

For those who understand King’s legacy, they said education and reflection are most important – particularly in observing the holiday that honors Dr. King.

“MLK Day is a day to recommit to the fight for equality and inclusion. To remember who we want to be as individuals and as a country,” stated Lena Hackett, executive director and managing partner of the Kennedy King Memorial Initiative, a nonprofit based in Indianapolis that works to commemorate the historic speech delivered by Sen. Robert F. Kennedy in Indiana on the night Dr. King was assassinated.

“The best way to commemorate Dr. King is for America to re-read his sermons and gain a renewed appreciation for their timeless wisdom on racial reconciliation, justice, family, and faith,” stated Frederick Weaver, a GIS Specialist who researches African American historical figures.

“Then, we must individually and collectively act on that wisdom to solve today’s challenges,” Weaver stated. MLK Day is a day of service and reflection for America, especially the Black community. It is a time to acknowledge remaining injustices and problems to be fought while celebrating areas where society has improved,” Weaver continued.

Lucinda Cross, an author and marketing coach at Activate Worldwide LLC, noted that the best way to commemorate Dr. King’s holiday is by “throwing a large ‘Dream Board’ party where young children and even their parents come together to create dream boards for future goals.”

“MLK day means a day to reflect on one man’s dream for the nation and how important it is for us to dream big enough for others. Thinking of selfless dreams that can change the communities in which we live, work, and serve,” Cross stated.