ERIC Number: ED489337
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Sep
Martin Luther King Jr. and Cesar E. Chavez: Legacies of Leadership and Inspiration for Today's Civic Education. Issue Paper
Welch, Anthony; Rodriguez, Julie Chavez
Education Commission of the States (NJ3)
This year, Americans celebrate and reflect on the 40th anniversary of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that secured the right to vote for millions of disenfranchised African Americans, as well as the 50th anniversary of the bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama, where Rosa Parks stood up for justice by sitting down on a bus, thus catalyzing the Civil Rights Movement. This year Americans also honor and reflect on the 30th anniversary of the Agricultural Labor Relations Act, which provided farm workers with the right to organize in California, as well as the 40th anniversary of the Delano Grape Strike, which catapulted Cesar Chavez and the Farm Worker Movement onto the national scene. As Americans celebrate, honor and reflect on these historic milestones, it is particularly important that the work and the lives of the champions of these movements- Martin Luther King Jr. and Cesar E. Chavez-are seen as enduring and relevant inspirations today. As a sign of the two men's legacies, more than 200 public schools and 500 streets throughout the country are named after one or both men. But the lasting influence of these men, particularly regarding the civic mission of schools, extends well beyond the naming of schools and streets across the country. To demonstrate that influence, this paper explores the following three topics: (1) Lessons from the work of King and Chavez that can help educators and policymakers think more deeply about ways in which awareness and advocacy can be strengthened to support the civic mission of schools; (2) Specific examples of ways in which schools are using the King and Chavez legacies; and (3) Specific recommendations for policymakers that use the King and Chavez legacies to create opportunities for effective civic education in America?s schools. Four lessons stand out in the work of both Martin Luther King Jr. and Cesar Chavez that offer useful ways to think about building awareness and advocacy for the civic mission of schools. They are (1 of dership; (2) The Importance of a Strategic Agenda; (3) The Importance of Policy; and (4) The Importance of Alliances with the Business Community. Through this paper, the authors hope every educator and policymaker in the country will reconnect to the power of the King and Chavez legacies and learn about strategies and options that can ensure today's young people build upon these great heritages.
Descriptors: Citizenship Education, Educational Policy, Federal Legislation, Civics, Strategic Planning, Consciousness Raising, Partnerships in Education
Education Commission of the States, 700 Broadway, Suite 1200, Denver, CO 80203. Tel: 303-299-3600; Fax: 303-296-8332; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Grade 6
Audience: Teachers; Policymakers
Authoring Institution: Education Commission of the States, Denver, CO.