Across both campuses, students, faculty, and staff commemorated the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Students reflected on his life through various activities throughout the week.
"We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protests to degenerate into physical violence... We cannot walk alone. And as we walk we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back… I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream... I have a dream today... This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning. 'My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.' And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania. Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado. Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California. But not only that. Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia. Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee. Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi, from every mountainside. Let freedom ring... When we allow freedom to ring—when we let it ring from every city and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, 'Free at last, Free at last, Great God a-mighty, We are free at last.’"
These words seem to take on a new meaning in the context and delivery of the presenters at the Red Gables Campus.
The High School welcomed Dr. Kelly Miller Smith, Jr., a child of the Civil Rights Movement. Dr. Smith’s father was a ministerial friend and confidant to Martin Luther King, Jr. so he grew up around Dr. King and his work. Dr. Smith shared that although Dr. King is considered a Civil Rights activist, he never saw himself like that. King was committed to a mission - committed to a cause - one of which he believed his faith was telling him, was a higher calling from God. Students engaged with Kelly’s delivery, asking questions about nonviolence, Nashville, and Dr. Smith’s overall experience of Dr. King. Dr. Smith reiterated that the nonviolent resistance in Nashville was so powerful that Dr. King said, “I came to Nashville not to bring inspiration, but to gain inspiration from the great movement that has taken place in this community.” Kelly encouraged students to really consider how they are called to make a difference in this world.
At the Lower School and Middle School, younger students, too, were reminded of their power in this world to make a difference and encouraged to really think about the implications of such a call. Grade 8 students presented a dialogue of the history of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as well as an engaging rendition of Doreen Rappaport’s Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Through story, younger students were able to engage with the life of Dr. King.