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Project teaches Butte schoolchildren about Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy

Posted at 5:16 PM, Jan 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-17 19:16:13-05

BUTTE — Love, respect, and fairness. These were some of the messages that Martin Luther King Jr. taught America and also the lessons kids at West Elementary School learned on Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday.

Butte Chief Executive J.P. Gallagher read from a children’s book that told the story of MLK and his many challenges.

“Guys who did the same job I did that was telling them that blacks and whites couldn’t be together. Is that right?” Gallagher asked the class.


First graders in Patty O’Neill’s class learned about the legacy of the late civil rights leader by a program headed by AmeriCorps and Montana Tech. King’s message resonates with the children.

“I think that he did a lot of things for us so we know to share and to think of other people,” said six-year-old Sophia Johnston.

Her classmate Adie Mcleod: “He was a leader and he shows respect and kindness.”

And while there’s been a lot of progress made in the area of civil rights, organizers of this program say Martin Luther King Jr.’s message is still important to teach to young people today.

“I think MLK provides us with a really beautiful model for advocacy as we move forward too. There’s always new things that we can be doing and ways we can be improving our society and, so, I think that model is very important to show people from a very young age,” said AmeriCorps member Noah Aukerman.

What would you tell him if you got to meet him?

“Thank you for helping others,” said first-grader Eleye Horne.

Simple messages even first graders can understand.