Each year on the third Monday in January, we celebrate the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at Bement. As the leader of the Civil Rights Movement, Dr. King helped to move our country forward in the quest for justice, freedom and equality. So many of Bement’s values are reflected in the work of Dr. King: peaceful conflict resolution, appreciation of diversity, and respect for all people. We celebrate his achievements each year, but we also recognize his methods. At Bement, we mark this important day with a break from our regularly scheduled programs and we immerse ourselves in some aspect of the history of the Civil Rights Movement. This year, we will be particularly focused on the music of the movement.
Music serves many purposes. Sometimes music is pure entertainment; sometimes it is sacred; sometimes it is educational, and sometimes it is utilitarian. The songs of the Civil Rights movement were all of these. On January 21, we, as a school, will learn about Marian Anderson, a world-famous, classically trained, African-American singer who faced discrimination even as she was invited to sing by First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt. The Bement chorus will teach us about Rosa Parks through song. Finally, we will learn the songs that fueled the Civil Rights Movement and served as tools in the struggle.
While there is enormous educational benefit to hearing about history, singing the actual songs that were sung by American citizens over a half century ago provides a deeper and richer connection to the past. Bement students will have the opportunity to feel in their bodies some of what was felt by the brave men and women who so fiercely challenged the United States to be a better country. We invite you to join us as we experience the power of raising our voices to sing together as a community in our culminating activity for the day in the Barn from 2:50-3:15 p.m. on Monday.