By Papa Abdoulaye Diop (YES 2017-2018, Senegal, Hosted by AFS-USA in Janesville, WI)
I remember Martin Luther King Jr. Day from my time in the U.S. as a day when we honored the Civil Rights leader’s life and legacy and gave back to communities across the U.S. through a day of service. This year, back home in Senegal, I wanted to replicate this experience, and so I went to an English club in a high school in Dakar and shared a presentation on Martin Luther King, Jr.’s greatest moments in fighting against segregation in the United States.
I talked about the period of segregation in America and progressed to talking about Martin Luther King, Jr. himself. The students learned about his famous speech, “I Have a Dream,” and how large an impact he had on ending segregation. We also talked about different states Martin Luther King, Jr. visited and spread his influence; this was a great opportunity to teach about the different states in the U.S. and their cultures.
Participants were very focused as they learned about this important figure in U.S. history, some for the first time. Most of them agreed that they never knew this much about Martin Luther King, Jr., so this was a huge inspiration for me to proceed with doing more activities similar to this one in the future. Participants were intrigued and wanted to know more about other historical figures I mentioned, such as Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy.
This was an amazing experience. I was so gratified to share what I know and see how much others enjoyed learning it!