If you have a young child in your life you may have experienced frustration, shock, confusion or a variety of other feelings, when the child just doesn’t “get” the civil rights movement, or the power of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s legacy. Or he/she thinks this chapter happened centuries ago even though it might have even happened in your life time.
Who can blame them?! We all would like to think that it was so far back in unimaginable history when we didn’t treat each other fairly. However, if children don’t have a visceral understanding of the horrors of “history” or if they are not informed that even though great strides have been made, this fight isn’t over, we only have adults to blame.
One way that I have found to help children understand the flaws of the abstract concept of “separate but equal” is to use This is the Dream by Diane ZuHone Shore & Jessica Alexander, illustrated by James Ransome.
Some people may question what is wrong with “separate but equal?” But if one uses visual literacy and critical thinking skills while examining this books, it is hard do draw any conclusion but “separate is NOT equal.” Take a look at the picture below and see if you can list all the reasons that a second grader can list when they think about the rightness of “separate but equal.”
What do you notice?