On Monday, January 21, Wes Jenkins’ “Topics in Critical Race Relations” lead the annual Martin Luther King Day Celebration at Hyde School’s Woodstock campus.
The class kicked the day off with a series of presentations during a morning meeting. The presentations focused on Martin Luther King himself, detailing his early life, his leadership with non-violent demonstrations, and concluding with a skit about the sit-ins.
“The spirit of the MLK Jr. Day celebration is to show the impact both he and the Civil Rights Movement had beyond the time period and across the world,” shared Jenkins. “The struggle for Civil Rights was very long, and can be said to have begun immediately following the Civil War. This was therefore a century-long battle for rights that all Americans receive.”
Following the meeting, students participated in a series of workshops led by Hyde School faculty members on subjects dealing with cultural, racial, and social differences. Topics included “Prudence Crandall,” “Hip-Hop’s Political and Social Context,” and “Social Darwinism,” amongst others.
Pamela Bertschy, a faculty member at the Hyde School, led her workshop on the Jewish Resistance to the Holocaust. “We often hear about the horrors of the Holocaust, but how many times in your academic career did you learn about how the Jewish people resisted the Nazis,” said Bertschy. “Students learned about the subtle ways the Jews kept their faith and gave themselves hope during the Holocaust.”
The day culminated with an ending school meeting that focused on what students learned and experienced during the day and on Martin Luther King’s vision for education.
“Ultimately, my hope is that students at Hyde can learn through the various seminars, lectures and activities held during the day,” expressed Jenkins. “We need to be educated on the plight of others that is brought on by social, economic, physical, or cultural differences.”