Singing, marching, and reflection marked the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at Friends Community School, in a tradition at the Quaker school that felt especially resonant this year.
In advance of the day, pairs of younger and older students studied Dr. King, discussed his ideas and their applications to today, and made signs to advocate for civil rights. Holding their signs, the Meeting Partners (as they’re called at FCS) marched through the school’s College Park neighborhood today in commemoration of the 1963 Children’s March.
In addition to the march, 8th-grade students performed a play called "King in Montgomery: Ten Years in the Nonviolent Civil Rights Movement" for the entire student body as well as many parents. The original production, directed by middle school teacher Annie Boggess, includes freedom songs, excerpts from Dr. King's writings, and the story of nonviolent tactics used in the civil rights movement. Rounding out the day’s activities, the school community held a Quaker Meeting for Worship in honor of Dr. King.
Celebrating Dr. King’s legacy is a tradition in the 30-year history of FCS, rooted in the historic relationship Quakers held with Dr. King from the mid-1950s until his death in 1968. Quakers helped arrange the pilgrimage he took to India with his wife Coretta Scott King to visit the people and places associated with the non-violent leader Mahatma Gandhi. The American Friends Service Committee, itself a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, nominated Dr. King for the award, which he received in 1964.
Today’s multi-faceted celebration at FCS moved many to draw connections to modern-day civil rights issues on the eve of the inauguration of a new president. Reflecting after the 8th-grade play, parent Joanie Cohen-Mitchell said, “Someday our children say to their children, ‘I was in an environment that really thought this was important. . . .At a time in our history when we were about to see a seismic change in the way our political situation was unfolding. . .we dedicated all our resources to making sure we deeply understood the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King.’”
Cohen-Mitchell and other FCS parents share their reflections in a video (below) about today’s events at the school.
Located in College Park, MD, Friends Community School is a progressive Quaker K-8 day school, founded on the belief that every child is a valued member of our community. We offer a challenging curriculum imbued with strong values of equality, integrity, community, environmental stewardship, simplicity and peaceful conflict resolution, rooted in our Quaker heritage.
Friends Community School 5901 Westchester Park Drive College Park, Maryland 20740 301-441-2100