Home > Monday Minute > Monday Minute: The Lowdown on Martin Luther King JUNIOR, Brought To You By James

Monday Minute: The Lowdown on Martin Luther King JUNIOR, Brought To You By James

James really enjoys Social Studies and often surprises me with what he has picked up in class (especially since he never seems to be listening). As part of  our day off we talked a bit about MLK Jr. this morning. I was amazed at what James already knew from school, and I’ll be the first to admit that I had to google who shot Martin Luther King (do you know?) to corroborate what James was telling me.


As always, James is in italics and my responses are in bold italics.

So guess what today is – Martin Luther King Day. It’s finally here!


So tell me what kind of things you’ve learned about Martin Luther King this past week. Junior. Right, junior. 

He was non-violent. He won a peace prize. A Nobel Peace Prize? Yeah. What else? He worked hard to get rid of segregation. 

Wow, James, you know a lot – I’m impressed!  

He was working overnight. Overnight? On his big speech that segregation was not fair. 

What is segregation? Taxation without representation? Um, not quite. Both are not fair though…. Segregation is when they separated-

White and blacks, I remember! Right. And we needed to ride the bus. The whites needed to get on the bus too. Well, whites and blacks needed to both be able to ride the bus together. Like Rosa Parks. Right – very good!

If she wanted my seat on the bus I would give it to her. Oh yeah? Yeah, if she wanted my seat she could sit there. That’s very nice of you James. But if she didn’t want my seat I could sit and she could just hold the pole, right? What? If she wanted to stand she could hold the pole. Holding the pole is fun, right?

Anything else about Martin Luther King? Junior? Yeah. He was killed. How? He was shot by police officer James Ray. I don’t think James Ray was a police officer. He had a gun. Yeah, but he wasn’t a police officer. Just a bad guy. Oh, right.

I think me and Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks are friends because we all like to ride the bus together. Sounds good to me.


I think James’s non-traditional interpretation of segregation, while concerning on some levels, is very sweet on another. For all intents and purposes (except for the most literal), I am proud to say that James is color blind. As the only white kid in his classroom, I am often portrayed as a black woman in James’s family portraits (and have a keychain to prove it).

Yes, that James thinks whites and blacks both had problems “getting to ride the bus” indicates that he needs a history refresher, but it also shows that James just can’t imagine a world where his friends of all colors wouldn’t be able to do everything he does. And when you see it from his perspective, why would I want to make him think about it any other way?

Happy Martin Luther King JUNIOR Day!

  1. MJ
    January 18, 2012 at 7:05 pm

    But. James is right. Disabled whites and blacks both had difficulty riding the bus; and sometimes still do.

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