On Today’s Episode of Kids Say the Darndest Things: The MLK Day Fiasco

After work, I went over to my sister’s house to give my nephews a little ice cream party. Since they were at their grandparents’ I hadn’t seen them in a while. As always, I missed them dearly, so when they blew my phone up while I was at work, I knew they were back home. As we all sat down to eat the ice cream we fixed, the 2-year-old continuously calls my name until I acknowledge him with eye contact, “Aunty, I make a mess.” I proceed to do what anyone in my shoes would do… I call their momma. She comes and starts sweeping the floor with a swiftness. I struck up a conversation asking them how their day went. 

They told me they stayed home because it was Martin Luther King Jr.’s day. I said, “well, do you guys know why today is important?” I looked at my sister before they could respond, did you do anything with them to honor Dr. King? She immediately goes on the defense and snappily asks them, “what y’all know about Martin Luther King? I kid you not it went something like this:

Sister: *intensely sweeping now* What y’all know about Martin Luther King Jr.? 

2-year-old: *ice cream drop* ……

6-year-old: *crickets*…………..

7-year-old: ………………………… 

Me: *watching the spectacle*

The older two are now in deep thought hoping that the question was rhetorical while staring at their momma, and then my oldest nephew squints his face up and says:

7-year-old: He’s dead.

Me: ….. (in my head) I know he did not just say…..

My eyes grew wide, I look at my sister, who looked at me, and all she could boldly say from the deepest place down inside her soul was:

Sister: SHIT

I couldn’t help but chuckle. I swear I tried to hold it in. I tell you my sister flipped like a light switch and started giving them the summary of Dr. King’s life. After she finished the recap, she asks them again, “okay, now what do you know?” I’m telling you it was so quiet in the room you could hear a rat pissing on cotton. The silence sent her right back through the roof from which she came. She confiscated them babies’ cell phones with a swiftness as if it was the phone’s fault they didn’t know the answer. 

At this point, I see sis can use my help. I go full Aunty mode and start looking up flights to Washington DC, of course, to visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Then I remembered it was temporarily closed due to COVID. I had to settle for the next best thing. 

Me: Hey Siri chrome cast Our Friend, Martin to the living room TV 

The movie Our Friend, Martin is a classic oldie but goodie, that as a child I watched in school. As an adult, it brought me pure nostalgia to watch it and share it with my nephews. I talked them through what was happening in the different scenes. In the end, I asked them, “What did you learn, Who was Dr. King, and why was he important? The responses were a little better.

He made black and white people be friend’s 

He was President

(I mean, I accepted President as a response because, well, he was going in the right direction, we can’t have it all folk’s!)

These are the top words I had to explain that my nephews had questions about. Feel free to use this list as a resource and define it in the best way you can for the child in your life.


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