Martin Luther King Jr. poster, essay contest second, third place winners

Isaiah Houston, Second place, Highland Elementary

Second place
Julie Estes
11th grade
Clovis High School

Why Not Just Sleep In?

When someone says the name Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the images and words that come to mind are amazing. Words like “brilliant,” “inspiring,” and “helpful” are very common when associated with Dr. King. The images may be a little different for the age groups. The students will remember the textbook pictures they have seen, while the elder generations will remember the newspaper photographs, or maybe the televised marches.

But whatever the case, everyone remembers Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. the same way: as a great man. That is what Dr. King’s remembrance day should be about, remembering and reflecting on the impact he has made on today’s society.

The average response when asked about what will be done on Dr. Martin Luther King day is usually something along the lines of, “Sleep in!” This is not right. What the response should be is “be thankful for all that Dr. King has done for us!” This is mostly not the case and that should be changed. The first response shows how unappreciative most people are towards Dr. King. They may be excited for the day off, but they do not think about the reason that they have that extra day of rest.

On their day off, people should reflect on the things that Dr. King has done for this world. They should realize that he has made it a much better place to live for everyone, not just the African-Americans. After they reflect on this, they should follow Dr. King’s example. They do not have to have huge rallies and change the world drastically, but doing small things around the community never hurt anyone. Even the smallest chore makes a big difference to everyone else.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was an amazing man. He impacted the world so he heavily that it has never been the same. By just slouching around in their pajamas all day, the people who do not recognize Dr. King’s accomplishments are insulting him. It does not matter how much, or how little, a person does to recognize Dr. King’s work, making an effort is all that really matters. A great man such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. deserves the respect he has earned.
So instead of sleeping in, or going to the movies, or hanging out with friends, all the cities in the United States need to be just that: United. They all need to stand for Dr. Martin Luther King the way he stood for all those people so many years ago.

Third place
Savanna Bridgwater
11th grade
Clovis High School

On January 15th (the third Monday of January) of every year, we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday as a national holiday. On this day, all employees of government jobs throughout the United States observe this holiday. What most people do not understand is why we are off this holiday — to remember, celebrate and act.

Each year on January 15th (the third Monday of January), employees of all government jobs think of Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday as being just another day off. Another day to hang out with friends, family and sit in front of the television all day long.

Most people do not realize that this holiday is a day to remember what Martin Luther King Jr. has done for our country. Have any of us ever sat down and thought about why we observe this day? Do any of us even remember some of the hardships that Martin Luther King Jr. went through to gain civil rights throughout the country? The truth is, most people do not. Do we as United States citizens remember how Martin Luther King Jr. was sentenced to jail for trying to prevent racial injustice? Why do we as United States citizens just think of this day as an ordinary day, when we could be celebrating what Martin Luther King Jr. has done for our country?

Martin Luther King Jr. was the leader of many organizations such as the Montgomery Improvement Associated (MIA) and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). These organizations were designed to prevent racial injustice. Many African-Americans throughout the country helped King with the struggle for equality. These organizations are the reason why most of the country is treated equally.

Do we remember that about 60 years ago Anglos and African-Americans were not even allowed to communicate with each other? How the whites had their own school and the blacks had a different one? How water fountains were labeled whites and blacks? How blacks were not even allowed to ride on the same bus as the whites? This country has changed tremendously today. With the help of Martin Luther King Jr., everyone in this country is given the opportunity to communicate with any race, go to school together, and be treated equally. Our county would not be the same today without the Civil Rights Movement that Martin Luther King Jr. established.

If everyone in this country sat down on Martin Luther King Jr. holiday and thought about this, we would realize that this day is not just a day off, it is a day on. A day on remembering the rights we have in this country, the people we are able to communicate with and the fact that we are all treated equally. This holiday is not just a day to hang out, it is to celebrate. To celebrate the wonderful life we have thanks to the Civil Rights Movement. We as United States citizens should show our appreciation to Martin Luther King Jr. for all of his strength, courage and efforts to bring the country peace and equality. We as United States citizens should influence other countries with our pride toward being able to have equality, something that most countries do not have. Some countries have not even heard of Martin Luther King Jr., they would not even know what he did to change the United States or what he had achieved in his lifetime. I believe that every country wants the same rights we have, they need someone like Martin Luther King Jr. to step up and lead that country to a better life. We should show these countries how this wonderful man, Martin Luther King Jr. set out on a mission for equality and achieved it. If one man could change the nation, what would the effect be if everyone in the United States came together and tried to make the nation better than it is now? In my view, the effect would definitely show our appreciation towards Martin Luther King Jr. and make the United States a stronger, more powerful nation.

On Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, I will sit down and thank Martin Luther King Jr. for the rights he gave this country. For the love he showed to everyone, blacks and whites. How he transformed the United States to a more peaceful place, the place where everybody is treated equally. I will sit down and think how different my life would be without the Civil Rights Movement. How we might still have been segregated and not able to communicate with different races. How I would not be able to see and talk to the people I am around everyday, if it wasn’t for Martin Luther King Jr.

Second place
Jamie Smith
Third grade
Barry Elementary School

Remember, Celebrate, Act “A Day On, Not a Day Off”

Martin Luther King, Jr. was a very intelligent man. He entered college at a young age. He was fifteen years old. He married Coretta Scott and together, they had four kids. Dr. King did a lot in his life. He was a minister, and author, and a father.

He was also a believer. He believed that colored people deserved freedom. They deserved to be treated the same as white people. He wanted the laws to change and he was arrested thirty times for trying. Martin Luther King, Jr. fought for segregation to end and freedom to begin. He made speeches to more than 25,000 people. He tried to spread his message in a positive way to be heard around the world. It was a success. Unfortunately, not everyone liked what they heard.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot and died on April 4, 1968. He died trying to correct the wrong and make it right. Dr. King was a great man. Our world would not have become a better place without him. We are free to make choices. We have the right to choose our friends, where we hang out, what school we go to, and what career we want. Because of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we are free.

Third place
Mariah Griego
Bella Vista Arts Acadamy

Martin Luther King Jr. saw signs that said, “whites only” that hurt his feelings but he remembered what his mom said, “you are as good as anybody” that made him feel a little bit better.

When Martin Luther King grew up he insisted that black girls and boys could play with white girls and boys. He made that happen by teaching them how to use words not fists.

Years later his dream came true.