New Haven kids reconnect with MLK’s legacy in word and song

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – Storyteller Joy Donaldson, singing and telling it to all listening at the New Haven Museum, about the little boy born in Atlanta, Georgia – who grew up to lead the civil rights movement on this Martin Luther King Jr. celebration.

“Go tell it on Stone Mountain. Over the hills and everywhere,” she sang.

Initially born Michael Junior, she says Martin Jr. came about when his father chose to change his own name and his son’s.

Joy says, “They say that anyone who knew him growing up in Atlanta still called him Michael almost all of his life but those of us who only knew him after he became a grownup always of course would call him Martin Luther King Jr.”

Other revelations?

“He learned about integration in Connecticut,” said 12-year-old Ryan Klauder.

What does integration mean to Ryan?

“Everybody coming together,” he said.

In another room, the New Haven Story Project, invited people to record stories of the impact of King’s dreams.

“Every one of us has a story,” says Brendan Linehan with Baobab Tree Studios, “And I feel it’s very important to share that so other people can listen and get inspired to share their stories.”

Kindergartner Roya Gendron shares all she knows about the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.

“What is it about him that you like so much?”

“That he helped the world. How did he help the world? By telling people that it’s not fair that whites get to stay with whites and brown gets to stay with browns-they should share together in peace and quiet.”

About that– iconic “I have a dream” speech.

Joy pointed out, “Remember the Constitution says we hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal – that was what the speech was going to be about.”

Only one song resonates the past and future of King’s legacy, “Ohhh deep in my heart, I do believe, we shall overcome someday.”

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