Norfolk Academy celebrated the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during two chapels on January 13, the final day of classes before the national holiday that honors the civil rights leader.
Middle School Director Jeff Boyd led Chapel for seventh, eighth, and ninth graders, teaching students not just about Dr. King's life and achievements, but also of the influence his words have on the Academy community and the responsibility that students and teachers have to carry on his messages. “As a nation, a society, and even as a school community, we have a rather significant and sometimes daunting responsibility to carry his work forward," Mr. Boyd said.
Dr. King's vision is on display in our Diversity, Equity, and Justice Statement, Mr. Boyd said. Four pillars in that statement are diversity, belonging, equity, and justice. After reading the statement, Mr. Boyd unpacked it, noting that students can play an important role in bringing about a community emblematic of Dr. King's vision. “Justice, and our hope that you will contribute to the creation of a just society, is the idea that if something is wrong, you’ll work to make it right," he said. “If something is broken, you’ll work to fix it."
Dr. King dedicated his life - sadly he was assassinated in 1968 when he was just 39 years old - to fighting for justice, Mr. Boyd said, reminding students that there is always more to be done. “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., was born on January 15, 1929, and he was assassinated on April 4, 1968," Mr. Boyd said. “He dedicated his life fighting for justice for all Americans. And while our institution predates Dr. King, his legacy lives on in us. We ask that you strive to be worthy of that legacy."
Students in Norfolk Academy's UNITiD Multicultural Club led the Upper School Chapel, teaching about women and men who, in addition to Dr. King, have been involved in our nation's civil rights movement. These included Angela Davis, a college professor, author, and activist, Malcolm X, and Medgar Evers, a distinguished World War II veteran who went on to serve as the NAACP’s first field secretary in Mississippi.
The club members also led a trivia competition in which students learned about civil rights figures and events including Ruby Bridges, the first Black student to attend William Frantz Elementary School in Louisiana, and Freedom Summer, a 1964 voter registration drive in Mississippi.
Club members challenged students to take time, even just a few minutes, to sit and learn more about Dr. King and the civil rights movement. As Martin Luther King Jr. Day on January 16 is also a Day of Service, they urged students to find out how they can serve the broader community. They noted a famous quote from Dr. King, “The time is always right to do what is right.”
Areen '24 let everyone know that the club will be offering more lessons during the upcoming Season for Nonviolence, a worldwide movement that takes place annually between January 30 (the day in 1948 when Mohandas Gandhi was assassinated) and April 4 (the day in 1968 when Dr. King was assassinated). The aim is to cultivate peace, love, and nonviolence.