What did Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Say about Education?
Every year at this time, we rightfully celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Every year we hear many quotes associated with him. So, what did he say about education?
In a short piece in the Morehouse College campus newspaper, the Maroon Tiger, King argues that education has a two-fold function to perform in the life of man and in society. One function, he says, is utility and the other is culture. He says education must enable us to become more and achieve legitimate goals of our lives. Dr. King also said that in his conversations around campus most college men have a misconception of the purpose of education because they think that it should equip them to exploit and trample over the masses and that others think education should “furnish them with noble ends rather than means to an end.”
In this short piece written in 1947, he goes on to say “Education must also train one for quick, resolute and effective thinking. To think incisively and to think for one’s self is very difficult. We are prone to let our mental life become invaded by legions of half-truths, prejudices, and propaganda. At this point, I often wonder whether or not education is fulfilling its purpose. A great majority of the so-called educated people do not think logically and scientifically. Even the press, the classroom, the platform, and the pulpit in many instances do not give us objective and unbiased truths. To save man from the morass of propaganda, in my opinion, is one of the chief aims of education. Education must enable one to sift and weigh evidence, to discern the true from the false, the real from the unreal, and the facts from the fiction.”
Dr. King’s words clearly indicate that he believed that education should divide truth from untruth. He calls out the press, religion and education as not giving us objective and unbiased truths. There is no doubt that this has become a fundamental issue in today’s divided nation. Educators in today’s world, are caught in the middle of this struggle. Providing unpopular truths to students will incite a viscous response from those affected.
Is modern education fulfilling its purpose according to Dr. King? The idea of what truth really is has become a debated topic. That would seem to negate the meaning of the word itself. When we are told to “speak your truth,” what does that mean? A simple Google search will reveal the depth of this modern idea. Yes, we should encourage everyone and everyone to share their personal perspectives on any topic without fear of judgment and we should carefully listen to others’ perspectives as well. Perhaps, they might ultimately reshape our own. But is our “truth” the same as our perspective. Our own beliefs and experiences are what create our perspective, but does that make our perspectives truths?
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The MEN was founded by John Huber in the fall of 2020. It was founded to provide a platform for expert opinion and commentary on current issues that directly or indirectly affect education. All opinions are valued and accepted providing they are expressed in a professional manner. The Maryland Education Network consists of Blogs, Videos, and other interaction among the K-12 community.