Every student, from the youngest to oldest, sat quietly during last Monday’s morning meeting, listening with rapt attention to the stirring “I have a dream” speech by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered during the 1963 March on Washington. With the holiday honoring Dr. King this coming Monday, I thought you might enjoy having a link to the video I shared with the students, showing the last five minutes of the speech.
Students across the school found many different ways to talk about Dr. King this last week. I visited a Lower Elementary class reading a book about the the march on Washington. Students learned about the Civil Rights movement and the hard work and courage required to make a stand for freedom. Another Lower Elementary class I visited was learning the words to the Underground Railroad song, “Follow the Drinking Gourd.” Mr. Pixley walked the students through each verse of the song, helping to explain the meaning. For instance, the “drinking gourd” was a phrase used to mean the “big dipper,” a grouping of seven stars that helped the slaves navigate a pathway north. By using the phrase drinking gourd instead, the slaves were able to conceal the real meaning of the song from slave owners. As I listened to the conversation with these Lower Elementary students, I was truly impressed with their understanding of what slavery meant, the courage of slave families who made this perilous journey, and how important it was that many people across the country took great risks to hide the slaves in their homes, in their passage north through the Underground Railroad.
My warmest wishes to all members of the Oak Meadow School community this holiday weekend.