On Tuesday, January 22—in celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day—MLK Montessori School students once again had the inimitable opportunity to “witness” a remarkable moment in our nation’s history during the school’s second annual “Rosa Parks Bus Tour.”
After placing a dime in the collection box of a Citilink bus (the cost of riding the bus in 1955), students watched beloved Fort Wayne storyteller Chief Condra Ridley recreate the role of Ms. Parks and tell her story of the eventful ride that sparked Dr. King’s successful Montgomery Bus boycott. Ridley said, "This is our effort to bring history alive for the children to give them a more tangible experience of what it might have been like to hear it from first person narrative.”
For the first time this year, community leader George Hicks also recreated the role of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and shared parts of his famous “I have a Dream” speech. "I hope they take away a couple of things. One is to love one another. Be kind and then have dreams, big dreams and begin to just live out their life more than they could have ever imagined," Hicks said.
MLK Montessori School’s Executive Director, Greta McKinney, hopes the event will inspire the children, as they get older, to learn about or country’s history and their own history: "It's really important that we teach our children where they came from so they know where they are going to and they don't repeat some of the negative things that happened in our lives.”
The school is grateful for the community partners that made this event a success. These include Chief Ridley, Mr. Hicks, Fort Wayne Citilink, and The Fort Wayne Chapter of The Links, Incorporated, the Lincoln Financial African American Business Resource Group. Both The Links and Lincoln generously donated books about Rosa Parks and Dr. King to the students.
The school is already looking forward to next year, when “Coretta Scott King” will be added to the tour, and it will be open to the public.