During the last several months, I've read about many injustices in the news. Over and over again, my Facebook feed has blown up with statements of outrage and praise by my diverse and colorful group of friends.
As we approach the holiday that celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday, I am mindful of the fact that despite the seemingly endless and senseless violence over race in our country (and around the world), there are always heroes in our midst who are the voices of reason, of compassion and love.
Too often, we mistake activists such as Dr. King, Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta, and Susan B. Anthony to be fighting for specific groups of people, when in fact they are fighting for all of us.
King's message on civil rights, peaceful protest, and basic human dignity does not apply only to African-American/white relationships. His message is universal and has been echoed in the voices and faces of others who have come before and after him. Too often, we mistake activists such as Dr. King, Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta, and Susan B. Anthony to be fighting for specific groups of people, when in fact they are fighting for all of us.
As our nation and our world grows in diversity, so do we. Our family and friends come in a variety of ethnic and racial backgrounds. We intermarry and produce beautiful children who hopefully reflect the best of their heritage from both their parents. And when we continue to reject and hate, the number of those affected grows larger. Afro-Latino, Asian-Latino, and so many other biracial (or even multiracial) identities are affected by prejudice and oppression.
With all of this in mind, I've been searching for titles on Martin Luther King, Jr. to share with my children. But I don't want books that tell the same story over and over again. Instead, I prefer those that focus on his message, or that give my kids a glimpse into his life. I want them to see that he was just a person like you and me who raised his voice to do the right thing when he saw something wrong — and didn't quit even when things got tough.
Here are five books that explore Martin Luther King, Jr.'s legacy and his message of equality and respect of human dignity.