The March on Washington: Celebrating the 50th Anniversary with my Kids

Martin_Mahalia_BookOn August 28th we celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington. While I was a little uneasy about being on the National Mall with the huge crowds of people alone with my kids, I still wanted us to commemorate the day.

Although I didn’t attempt to explain race relations to my four-year olds, I did want them to know about the awe-inspiring day. The pictures, speeches, and songs brought back memories of when I first learned about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have a Dream Speech” and the feeling of pride I felt when I saw pictures the thousands of people marching in the name of freedom, justice, and equality.

History is one of my passions, so finding a unique but meaning way to share its importance with my children meant a lot to me.

I chose to share the story about the March on Washington and the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King from a children’s book. “Martin & Mahalia: His Words, Her Song” is a wonderful book written and illustrated by a husband and wife Andrea (author) and Brian (artist) Pickney.

Nothing quite, gets the point across like listing to Mahalia Jackson and hearing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in their own voices, but the story by Andrea Pickney comes close for kids. It shares the highlights of joy that parent’s can build on a share more details as he or she sees fit. It also does a great job about describing how each person used their talents to bring other people together. My children often commented on the illustrations within the story and it made them feel good learning about the history of the people who struggled to make America a better place for all people to live in.

Listen to Mahalia Jackson as she wows the crowd of over 200,000 people at March on Washington in 1963.

Listening to them does something inspiring within that causes a person to become more hopeful and let go of fear, hate, and pain.

Unfortunately, poverty is still pervasive today. The economy has made life tougher for many families and  being poor in America has almost become like digging your own grave. However, many people have rose above poverty and are able to succeed through education. Thus, I want my children to learn to have compassion for all people and feel love as God would have them to. I want my girls to see the value of education and become so invigorated by learning that they will live as fearless leaders in the future.

Martin’s March on Washing Speech

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