Eighth graders were recently put to the test to stretch their imaginations and put themselves in another’s shoes; specifically, Martin Luther King Jr.’s shoes.
This assignment came about as the students were finishing up their studies on the Civil Rights Movement. They learned that while imprisoned in the Birmingham jail for participating in a march protesting segregation, MLK read an open letter in the local newspaper from pastors and rabbis asking him why he was supporting direct confrontation and that he needed to wait for the law/government to enforce integration. Our eighth-grade students were then asked the following questions:
- What would your response to the letter be?
- What argument would you use to support direct confrontation?
- How would you respond to “wait”?
They formed small groups and wrote their responses to these questions, before reading MLK’s actual Letter From Birmingham Jail. Eighth-grade teacher Mrs. Fahrenbrook then compiled their responses into the Class of 2021’s "Call to Rise Up," a declaration against racism and prejudice.
Read their full manifesto here. This assignment allowed students to flex their ethical-decision making muscles, and really submerge and educate themselves on ESD’s Founding Tenets. Well done to the Class of 2021!