Written by Dr. Steve Whitaker, Head of School
As we approach Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, it is a blessing and honor to reflect on his memory and legacy. We are inspired by this devoted Christ-follower and servant leader who poured out his life for others in order to point us all toward God’s design for humanity. As we consider his legacy, let’s be encouraged to dream big dreams, to be lights in a dark world, and celebrate our oneness in Christ (I Corinthians 12). Let me share five highlights/observations from his remarkable life.
1. Dr. King was the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize
In 1964, at the age of 35, Martin Luther King Jr. became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. As parents, this resource can be used to encourage our children to be courageous and understand that their faithful and prayerful dedication to a cause will be rewarded.
2. Dr. King did not intend to become a minister
After high school, Dr. King attended Morehouse College to study medicine and law. His relationship with mentor and President of the college, Dr. Benjamin Mays, influenced his decision to go into vocational ministry. Dr. Mays was an outspoken advocate for racial equality and an influential theologian. The direction he pointed Dr. King dramatically changed life for him and for all of us. I’m personally grateful the living curriculum influencers and coaches at TFA pour into our students daily, equipping them with the tools to develop and grow the vision God has placed in their lives to be positive influences in our world.
3. Dr. King drew inspiration from a wealth of leaders and cultures around the world
From West Africa to India, Dr. King was a student of people and leadership. What he learned from others provided a framework for his non-violent social justice movement. Encouraging our children to understand the Gospel in a variety of cultural contexts prepares them for life as Christian leaders – a key component in our mission statement.
4. Dr. King didn’t just fight for racial equality.
Through the eyes of his biblical faith, Dr. King saw that in order to promote true freedom and justice, he needed to address poverty, speak to economic inequality, and pray for peace. In November 1967 he personally led an effort to equip and empower impoverished Americans so that they might share in the dreams he had for this country.
5. Dr. King forged ahead when even some of his clergy colleagues weren’t ready to move forward.
In April of 1963, Dr. King wrote his famous Letter From Birmingham Jail addressed to the religious leaders in Birmingham. In his letter, Dr. King responded to the leaders’ criticisms of his movement. He shared that the biggest roadblock to the progress of his movement was not hate-filled secular groups, but groups of believers who remained silent in the face of injustice. Take a look at his letter here.
Below you will find additional resources for your children and family on this topic:
- For more information about how TFA is working to promote a Gospel-centered racial harmony on campus, see our Diversity at TFA page.
- Check out books from TFA’s Boyd-Moline Library about Dr. King or other multicultural heroes.
- Take a look at some great books about the Civil Rights Era with your child.
- American Girl- Melody Ellison (1964)
- Civil Rights Era books for children