Around 40 Michigan Tech students volunteered to visit Houghton and Hancock elementary schools Monday to read to students about the life of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Biographical accounts of King's March on Washington and portions of his "I Have a Dream" speech were read aloud in different classrooms in 30-minute intervals.
â??A lot of people think this is just a day off, but we like to think of it as a day of service,â?? said Michigan Tech student, Collin Doerr-Newton. â??This was a great opportunity to really get out into the community and talk to a lot of students about what MLK did and who he was.â??
Students learned about more than just the Civil Rights leader. The broader topic of racial inequality and segregation was discussed as well, and students heard about the horrors people faced in schools and in their own homes.
â??I do not think it was fair,â?? said Houghton Elementary fourth grader, Angus Butler, of segregation. â??Itâ??s just wrong, unfair, and it just wasnâ??t right.â??
â??He changed a lot of things that are a lot different today than they were back in the 1960s and before that,â?? Doerr-Newton added. â??Itâ??s important to celebrate those things because, not even black people, all people in America would not be where they are today if it werenâ??t for what MLK was doing back then.â??
Students were even challenged to think of what life might be like if our country was still in the fight to end segregation.
â??It would be a lot darker and more violent,â?? said Houghton Elementary fourth grader, Logan Sandell.
â??I think itâ??d be very dark and some people be just not treated the same way, and there would probably still be miniature wars going on between black and white people,â?? Butler added.
Students used words like â??kind,â?? â??determined,â?? and â??initiativeâ?? to describe King.
The volunteer students said though it's important to celebrate King's life, they feel the fight for justice isn't over yet.
â??He was such an important person, and he was so nice, and he ended segregation, so I think it would be important to celebrate when he was around,â?? Butler said.
â??Iâ??m glad I live in 2014 and not 1968, but we still have a long way to go fighting injustices in America, but weâ??re off to a really good start,â?? Doerr-Newton said.
Michigan Tech is holding various events celebrating MLK Day throughout the week.
Tuesday, in the Great Lakes Research Center room 201, a community discussion about social justice and equality will take place at 4 p.m.
Wednesday, a documentary featuring King's life titled, "King: A Filmed Record," will be shown in Fisher Hall 135 at 7 p.m.