Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Stories help Johnson City youth learn about Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.


NET News Service

JOHNSON CITY — Youth filed into Johnson City’s Carver Recreation Center Monday morning to learn about slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

Carver Recreation Center, 322 W. Watauga Ave., held its 10th annual Martin Luther King Jr. story time for children ages 6-12. About 60 attended. The goal was to celebrate King’s life and educate the children about his work.
James Stukes has participated in the event in years past with his son. This year Stukes brought some of his fraternity brothers from East Tennessee State University’s Alpha Phi Alpha.
“Sometimes they fall short with hands to help facilitate the activities the kids have,” Stukes said. “So we called and told them we’re willing to help them.
“In the past it was interesting because a lot of kids didn’t know a whole lot about Martin Luther King Jr. It was good to see them learn and absorb that information. They were eager to learn more about him.”
Jaron Parks, 12, has attended the story time five years now.
“Martin Luther King was a minister,” Jaron said. “He brought blacks and whites together. He brought them together in a nonviolent way.”
This year was 12-year-old Serena Thompson’s first year at the story time.
“It was a bunch of fun,” she said. “I learned a lot of stuff.”
When asked what she learned about King, Serena said, “He made a difference in segregation.”
Mary Grace Walrath, from the Jonesborough Storytellers Guild, entertained the children.
“Stories are an important part of any culture, not just African-American culture,” Walrath said. “Stories not only teach, but they entertain. Many times the people that are listening to the stories don’t realize that they’re learning while they’re hearing the stories.”

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