He believed that people should not be judged by the color of
their skin, or what they look like from the outside, but for how
they really are from the inside. From a Birmingham jail, he wrote:
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."
Kristina Hill, Grade 5
Scott North Elementary School
If we have tolerance, there would be no need to fight and have
violence. With tolerance, there wouldn't be gangs trying to kill
people for little things. There wouldn't be prejudism.
Ericka Dennis, Grade 5
Scott North Elementary School
THIS WAS Army Lt. Col. Samuel Taylor's dream - to teach almost
2,000 youngsters about another man with a dream. Earlier this
month, it turned to reality.
The children crowded into the gymnasiums of three elementary
schools to talk with the soldier not about war but instead about
peace and nonviolence and tolerance. They talked about what the
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream meant to them.
Taylor and Navy Lt. Commander Ron Evans organized the program,
which they described as "keeping alive Dr. Martin Luther King's
dream of a tolerant and nonviolent society." It was part of Scott
Air Force Base's celebration of African-American Heritage Month.
The children worked on the project at their elementary schools,
Scott North, Scott South and Mascoutah Sixth Street. Most of the
students are white, but the three schools are racially integrated.
More than 175 youngsters won awards for their work at
ceremonies at the schools. The children, many of whom live at Scott
or in nearby Mascoutah, read poems and essays they had written and
proudly displayed their crayon-colored pictures.
To encourage participation, Taylor had told parents and
teachers: "We have arguably become a less tolerant society since
Dr. King told the world of his dream. The fact that we have a more
violent society is indisputable."
Taylor said he wanted to do the program so "we can use art,
poetry and essay contests to remind the children of how toleration
and love must replace hatred and violence, if we are to live in
harmony and peace." Taylor said he wanted the children to know how
to get along with people who are different than they are.
Second grader Mark Yount at Scott South used crayons to show
how he felt. His picture showed a white child and a black child
talking outside in the park with a benevolent smiling sun smiling
behind them in a blue sky.
"Want to be friends?" asks the black child.
"Sure," answers the white child.
Other youngsters drew pictures of athletes Jackie Joyner Kersee
and Michael Jordan achieving their dreams.
Fourth-grader Kevin Rayford at Mascoutah already had learned
about King from his parents. "He was a great African-American
leader," said Kevin, who won a bronze medal for his entry. Dr. King
was "a gentle person, a nice gentleman to other people and was a
good civil rights leader."
Kevin's friend, Alex Schubert, was thrilled to win a gold prize
for his entry. Gold winners earned Olympic-like medallions tied on
American flag ribbons. "I won the Olympics," Alex shouted with glee.
What did he learn to get his award?
"That everybody should be equal and everybody should be treated
the same," Alex said.
Third-grader Tony Trotter, a Scott South pupil and medal
winner, talked about misconceptions some people have. …