Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Powerful MLK Day

Each year, the Museum presents a day of special programming to commemorate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Storytellers and actors Rochel Coleman and Valerie Tutson bring history to life through songs and stories as they portray Civil Rights activists Rosa Parks, Ralph Abernathy and more in their powerful performance “M.L.K.: Amazing Grace.”(Click here for a Providence Journal video of last year’s performance.)

Families also explore an exhibit of photographs, words and books describing Dr. King's life and work and can choose to participate in an interactive exploration of the negative power of discrimination, during which they wear a red or green tag and encounter “red only” and “green only” labels throughout the Museum – on lunchroom tables, bathroom doors, water fountains and more. The activity and performance inspire reflection and compelling conversations.
Yesterday’s program was full of thought-provoking moments and powerful stories, shared by Museum staff and AmeriCorps members:

  • A mom wasn’t able to drink from the upstairs bubbler with her two boys. One boy said, “Just drink here, mom.” The mother replied, “I can’t. It’s against the law.”
  • A very angry child came up to me while I was in Bone Zone. He was upset because he was “very thirsty” and he couldn’t drink out of the water fountain because it said RED ONLY. He said that it wasn’t fair that he had to go downstairs to get some water.
  • A family was eating in the lunchroom and they were wearing different tags, so they took a sign from another table so they had both a red sign and a green sign and all could sit together.
  • A mom: “I think I’ll switch to red. It’s hard to be different colors when you’re a family.”
  • Another girl asked about having two necklaces, one red, one green. “Interesting idea. But can a person have two different skin colors?” I asked. “If they’re magical. And I’m magical,” said the girl.
And some wonderful responses left on our Talk Back board, to the question “What will you do to fight racial discrimination?”:

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