On August 30, 2013, America commemorated the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. This march was held in our nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. The year was 1963, a year noted for its racial unrest and civil rights demonstrations. Martin Luther King III was just five years old when his father, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., gave his famous “I have a dream” speech on that hot August day.
Many books have been written about the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and rightly so, as his life’s work to bring justice to all people has been invaluable. But not much has been written about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as a father. Dr. King was father to four children, and one of his sons, the second oldest, Martin Luther King, III, has written a beautiful non-fiction picture book about life with Dr. King as a father.
The story begins with young Martin Luther King III (lovingly known as Marty) and his sister, Yolanda, wanting their father to take them to Funtown. But their mother had to explain to them that they could not go to Funtown because they were black. The rides and rollercoasters were for white people only. This was the 1960′s. Dr. King, Jr. fought to change that rule and many others that kept people separated from each other. At home with his family, Dr. King was just like any other dad. He tossed his children up in the air, played football, shot hoops, and joked with them. Not all people liked or agreed with Dr. King’s work, and many times his son would be scared to admit that Dr. King was his father. Other kids would make fun of him. It was a tense time.
But Dr. King believed in non-violence, not fighting back, and he taught his children the same. Because of Dr. King’s work and sacrifice, America was changing. His children could now go to schools that were once closed to them because of the color of their skin. Because of Dr. King’s work and sacrifice, along with countless other heroes, segregation ended. My Daddy, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is a lovely book written by Dr. King’s son. This book provides insight into the family life of this great civil rights leader. It is beautifully illustrated by Ag Ford, whose work includes the New York Times bestselling Barack by Jonah Winter, and Michelle by Deborah Hopkinson. Ag Ford is the recipient of an NAACP Image Award. His work is truly outstanding. So do yourself a favor and check out this remarkable book.