Tomorrow, January 15th, as we know is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. This day for me has always been one of gratitude, celebration, and mindfulness. As a little girl, I first learned about Dr. King by my mother. She would tell stories how she met and even had a conversation with Martin Luther King, Jr. after he preached on a sidewalk in Roxbury on Blue Hill Avenue in Boston Massachusetts. My initial learning about Martin Luther King, Jr. did not come from the public schools, and I am grateful for that experience. We had a collection of books about Dr. King (and others) and mom would teach my sister and me African-American history from her perspective and experience. Our most valuable teaching experiences about Dr. King started in the home and education was always a topic on the agenda.
As we move forward and celebrate Dr. King's legacy, I want to share one thing. Having an academic education is excellent, and if used correctly, it could improve your life, your community and the lives of others. However, being educated about who you are and your history surpasses what an academic education, in my opinion, could provide. One does not need an academic scholarship to have an impact.
Dr. King never mentioned it takes an academic education to teach one to think critically and intensely. He said, "intelligence plus character" is the goal of true education and I cannot agree more. Intelligence and character are not listed in the school curriculum and cannot get obtained through an institution or higher education. It must be displayed and cultivated in the home, at the foot of your elders and through the leaders in your communities. Whether you have an academic education or a home-based education, be encouraged to be of service, no matter the level. Apply your unique intelligence and character to confront difficulties and injustice, and as Dr. King once said, "maintain your faith" knowing regardless of your education, all of us can make a difference.