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In Honor of MLK, Jr.: Writing Prompt

The contributions made to America by Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King are many and they are monumental. The writings and speeches would have been more than enough; however, they also acted on their philosophy and ideas for society. They led or helped to lead marches and boycotts, traveled worldwide to meet with other activists, participated in demonstrations, and worked with a variety of organizations that focused on non-violence, civil rights, equality for all, and social justice.

For this week's writing prompt, write about these amazing people in some way. Maybe your speaker was at the Sanitation Workers March in Memphis, led by Coretta Scott King a few days after the assassination, or was a classmate of Dr. King at Boston University, or experienced something life-changing on MLK Day.

Today's blog poem, "There Is a Street Named for Martin Luther King, Jr. In Every City,"

Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib uses the streets named for MLK, Jr. as a starting point to examine racism. There are also schools, parks, and community centers named for King, as well as a Little League team in Texas, a choir in San Diego, restaurants, and even streets in other countries. People visit the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Park in Atlanta, as well as other sites associated with King. Have you have visited one of these places, lived on one of these streets, or attended an MLK school? If so, that could be the basis for your poem, essay, or story.

You might also write a poem that incorporates quotations by King, finds similarities between your speaker and CSK raising 4 children after losing her husband to murder, or reflects on the 1960s.

Be mindful of cultural appropriation, and providing answers/solutions to the complex issues of racism and violence (unless you are writing an opinion piece). Poems that ask questions are much more powerful than poems that supply answers. For example, from today's blog poem, this unanswered question gets much of its power by not supplying an answer, by letting readers see the irony and the pain on their own.

"after all / are you less / of a ghost / if you die on a street / named for a man who / they will say / could have saved you?"

Somber or celebratory, directly or indirectly, see what you can do with the Kings and their amazing legacy.

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