What Were MLK’s Childhood Experiences?

Martin Luther King, Jr., escorts African American children in Grenada, Mississippi as they go to school.

The photo above was taken in Grenada, Mississippi, in 1966. At that time, hundreds of Black students were trying to attend schools that had previously only allowed White children. As they walked to school, they were attacked by angry White people.

Martin Luther King, Jr., and other Civil Rights activists arrived to protect them on their walk to school and show support for their cause. He believed that African American children should be able to attend the same schools as White children. It was an important issue to him because when he was a child, he did not get that opportunity.

Martin Luther King, Jr., grew up in Atlanta, Georgia under segregation [a system where laws kept Black people and White people separate]. When Martin was a child, he played with a White child whose father owned the store across the street. When they turned six, they started to go to different schools and the child stopped playing with Martin. Martin asked the White child why they stopped playing together. The child told Martin that his father demanded he stop playing with Martin because of the color of his skin.

Martin talked with his parents about the incident at dinner that night. His parents told him about the racism that existed in America. They explained the unfair segregation laws that existed in the Jim Crow South. They described some of the insults they had received in their lives because of racism.

As Martin Luther King, Jr., grew up, he would lead the fight against segregation. He would help children who wanted to integrate [bring together] schools. He would lead campaigns against unfair segregationist laws. He would speak powerfully about his dream, that one day young Black children and young White children would be able to join hands as sisters and brothers.

What Do You Think?  What things do you find unfair in your life? How would you like to change them?

Photo Credit: Glasshouse Images/Alamy Stock Photo