I entered Kindergarten in the Fall of 1968 in the newly renamed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. School, a school that continues to educate a diverse population in the Mount Hope neighborhood in Providence, RI. King had been assassinated the previous Spring, and the school took on his name and his mission soon after.

My Kindergarten “class” was the first fully desegregated class in Providence, an opportunity not lost on teachers and administrators. King’s legacy was celebrated throughout my elementary years, providing me at least a marginal appreciation for the Civil Rights Movement from an early age. Fifty years later, the school remains a vibrant community comprised of students and faculty who continue to build on King’s legacy.

I later attended Boston University where King earned his Ph.D just before he was appointed Minister of the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church in 1955. MLK has been a worthy hero since I understood the concept of heroism. I became an educator to further his message of racial harmony and tolerance.

On MLK Day, the challenge is to once again be motivated by his words, and inspired by his message.

“The time is always right to do what is right.”

I’ve compiled a Spotify playlist of songs about King and the Civil Rights Movement.

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Ken Abrams

Lifestyle Editor Ken Abrams writes about music for What'sUpNewp, Providence Monthly, SO RI, and more. He DJ's "The Kingston Coffeehouse" Tuesday nights, 6-9 PM on WRIU 90.3 FM.