Student Essayists Reflect on Dr. King’s Legacy

Tuesday January 20, 2004

“I am somebody! We can be the dream!” chanted the students led by third grade teacher Kim Burton at the Washington Communication and Technology Magnet School Jan. 12 as they celebrated the 75th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday. 

“Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was an amazing human being. We all know he fought long and hard so that African Americans and all Americans would have equal rights.” 

The special multi-media assembly organized by Burton and other teachers at the school also recognized the nine winners of the school’s Martin Luther King Jr. essay contest for third through fifth graders—one of which is reproduced in today’s paper. 

Burton said the contest, which comes at the beginning of the school’s upcoming Civil Rights curriculum, was meant to ground the leader’s message in the lives of the students by forcing them to think and write about how and why their lives relate to his. 

Asked to reflect on one of three quotes from Dr. King—“Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that,” “Love is the key to the problems of the world,” and “Sooner or later, all the people of the world will have to discover a way to live together”—the winners were chosen on their ability to take the quote apart and apply it to their own lives or the modern world. 

Fifth-grader De’Janae Russell was chosen for the following essay. 

—Jakob Schiller 



An Essay in Honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 


By De’Janae Russell  


I agree with Dr. King’s quote “Hate cannot drive out hate.” Because love is the only thing that can do that. Everyone should be treated in the same way no matter what color their skin is. Dr. King wanted white people and black people to be able to share things and let black kids and white kids play together and go to the same schools. He always told other people to solve their problems in nonviolent ways. Dr. King made a lot of speeches. When he said his “I Have A Dream” speech, 250,000 people listened to this speech in 1963. Dr. King helped black people by changing some of the unfair laws. Dr. King helped change the bus law that black people had to sit at the back of the bus and white people could sit where they wanted to. He also went to hospitals to make all of the sick people feel better. I think that Dr. King was a very brave man because he did a lot of brave things in his life to make the world a better place. I think that Dr. King did the right thing by changing the unfair laws because everyone should have equality. I think Dr. King was a great person and a good leader. Dr. King always tried to do the right thing by helping other black people. Dr. King is very famous today because in the past he has helped black and white people stop fighting and now people can have their own freedom. Because of Dr. King black people can go to any hotel, restaurant, bathroom, water fountain, beach, vacation place, school, store, and now black people can have any job that they want. It does not matter what color your skin is because everyone’s skin color might be different from everyone else’s skin. Dr. King always stood up for his rights and other black people’s rights because black people should have their own rights too. White people should not judge black people by the color of their skin. If Dr. King wasn’t born, there would be a lot of war in the world. Dr. King was an excellent example for showing people how to do nonviolent things because he wanted peace on earth, and he did not want war. He used words, marches, speeches and bus boycotts to solve problems, not cannons.