PV Schools

April 4, 2018, will mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee.  Dr. King was staying at the Lorraine Motel as he prepared to support the Sanitation Workers who were striking for working conditions and respect for their dignity. In 1968, there were few hotels for African Americans and numerous entertainers at the time were guests at the Lorraine, including Aretha Franklin, Nat King Cole and Count Basie. The motel has since been restored as a Civil Rights Museum and Dr. KIng’s room remains as it was on the day of the assassination with his room intact.

I was able to visit the museum with the PV High School principal, Ms. Intrieri after an IB (International Baccalaureate)  training session in Memphis. We were both deeply moved by the exhibits that brought to life the context of the historical moment, when so much was at stake in the quest for dignity and equal rights at the voting booth, in schools, in the workplace, in the courts and in all public institutions.

We were especially affected when we stepped onto a replica of the bus that Rosa Parks entered when she refused to move to the back of the bus. An automated bus-driver tries to persuade Rosa Parks to move to the back, first in a kind and courteous way and then more forcefully. The visitor is on the bus and can experience the hurt and pain involved. A set of instructions posted on the wall of the exhibit explains to protesters how the non-violent action will operate.  “In all things observe ordinary rules of courtesy and good behavior. Remember that this is not a victory for Negroes alone, but for all Montgomery and the South…Be loving enough to absorb evil and understanding enough to turn an enemy into a friend.”

The list of instructions is lengthy and requires courage, restraint, and willingness to accept injury without responding. We have so much to learn from Dr. King and so much to be grateful for as we contemplate the progress we are making in our understanding of what is required to sustain the principles of a just society.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” King lived his passion for a more “just” universe. He lived his belief that “the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of convenience and comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

Education is the process by which we help our students perceive and revere the struggle and suffering Americans have endured to sustain the vision of equal rights inspired and envisioned by Dr. King.

Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools

*Superintendent’s Listening Hour – Tonight – PVHS – 5:45-6:45 PM*

*Board of Education Meeting – Tonight – 7:00 PM – PVHS – live streamed at pvcsd.org*

*Schools will be closed Monday, January 15*