Martin Luther King at Montessori |

Martin Luther King at Montessori

Vickie Clarke took her Tahoe Montessori students on a journey back in time. Together they explored the dreams of a man who spent, and lost, his life fighting for equality and freedom.

She began the lesson by reading a speech whose chilling and inspirational words would change the course of history.

“I have a dream today,” Martin Luther King, Jr., told thousands of freedom marchers at the peak of the Aug. 28, 1963, March on Washington. “I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

King spoke powerfully and eloquently. He concluded his speech with unforgettable words.

“When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last. Free at last. Thank God almighty, we are free at last.””

Clarke’s students, most of which have never met a black person before, were deeply impressed by these words and even committed some of the ideas to memory.

“Martin Luther King wanted people to be free,” said Steven Segal, 8. “They were treating white people better than black people so he made them equal.”

Segal explained that a long time ago someone decided that everyone should be equal. Clearly, he noted, during King’s time that was not the case. King changed the world, Segal said.

As part of the project, Clarke’s students assembled a “Footsteps to Freedom” bulletin board which they decorated with paper clouds and a sign wishing Martin Luther King a happy birthday. Each student penciled in a dream on the clouds.

“A lot of the younger kids wrote dreams that were related to the news,” Clarke said. “One 5-year-old girl said she dreams they would impeach the president and get it over with.”

Noah Arzio, who just turned 6, said he wishes that no more mustangs would be shot. Cody Freas, 7, dreams that no one would kill, or be killed, anymore.

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