Dr. King's speech the lesson of day at Merced schools

dyawger@mercedsunstar.comSeptember 2, 2013 

Some Merced educators had a chance Wednesday to reflect on the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech as the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington was observed around the nation.

At El Capitan High School, Principal Anthony Johnson sent teachers and students an email message about the civil rights leader's historic speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial.

El Capitan's freshmen and sophomores got Johnson's email on their accounts early Wednesday morning since the school has gone paperless and instruction is totally computer-driven.

Students and faculty members also could call up King's speech via a YouTube link. Johnson said as he was walking by classrooms, he noticed a number of teachers reading the email and watching the video.

"This is a great opportunity to reflect and be thankful for the sacrifices of those who played a part in affording us the many educational opportunities we enjoy today," Johnson said. "Dr. King practiced non-violence and advocated for a nation of integrity, compassion and honor."

In the Merced City School District, teachers were encouraged to play a Youtube clip of King's speech in their classrooms, said Annie Dossetti, assistant superintendent for educational services.

Johnson was born 20 years after King's speech. Growing up in Yazoo City, Miss., he remembers his mother and grandparents telling him about the time King walked through their town.

"I thought it was important that they know the history of this," Johnson said.

"A diverse group of American citizens marched in the nation's capital. This group advocated for freedom to participate in government, freedom to peacefully co-exist and freedom to prosper in life," he said.

Reporter Doane Yawger can be reached at (209) 385-2407 or dyawger@mercedsunstar.com

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