Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The living Martin Luther King

I don't want just one Martin Luther King day this year. I want 52 or so. I'll get them with my new purchase which I want to turn you onto as well. On iTunes and other download sites there is a 17 hour collection of MLK speeches. Google or search for "speeches by martin luther king, the ultimate collection." Here they are on Spotify. Last night I spent 30 minutes listening to the address made at the conclusion of the Selma to Montgomery March. Yes. Selma.
That 30 minutes was worth the $9.99 cost of the download. Really people, snap this download up. The recordings of the speeches are history in the public domain as far as I know and use of them in a classroom is certainly a fair usage of the words of this true American hero. If I were still in the classroom, I would edit the speech, or simply cue up the day's segment of the speech according to the age group of the student. Younger kids can enjoy inspirational moments. English as a Second Language students can appreciate the references to great quotes such as, "My feets is tired, but my soul is rested," and "Josh'a Fit the Battle of Jericho." Teachers can point to the musical use of cadences in Dr. King's speeches. This speech contains the cadences: 1. We're on the move now…;  2. Let us march…;  3. It was normalcy…;  4. How long - Not long.
(This last cadence, in my experience with middle school immaturity, is best taught in the earliest grades.)
A teacher could make lessons for older students directly taught by King in the speech. There is the segment explaining segregation as a creation of politics! Astounding insight. And there is an introduction to the much misunderstood Populist movement.
Teachers, please continue with your lovely stories, but incorporate the living, breathing man as well! His breath is alive and it still vibrates the arc of the moral universe.

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