Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gives his famous “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington, D.C., in 1963.

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Keeping the Dream Alive

Phil Skinner/AP Images for Scholastic Inc.

Yolanda Renee King is busy. The fifth-grader studies hard, plays soccer, and takes violin lessons. She also speaks out about issues that are important to her—just as her grandfather did. Yolanda’s grandfather was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. King was an important American leader. In the 1950s and 1960s, he led an effort to gain equal rights for African Americans. Back then, unjust laws segregated black people from white people in many places. Black people couldn’t go to the same schools, theaters, hospitals, or other places as white people. Some states had laws that made it hard for black people to vote.

Dr. King led peaceful protests and gave inspiring speeches to demand equality. His leadership helped bring about great change. 

Dr. King was killed in 1968, long before Yolanda was born. Scholastic News spoke to Yolanda at her home in Georgia about her grandfather and her work for social change.

Yolanda Renee King is busy. She studies hard and plays soccer. She also speaks out about issues. In that way, she’s a lot like her grandfather. He was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. King was an important leader. He fought for equality for African Americans in the 1950s and 1960s. Back then, unjust laws segregated black people from white people in many places. Black people couldn’t go to the same schools, theaters, or other places as white people. Some states made it hard for black people to vote.

Dr. King led protests and gave speeches. He helped bring about change.

Dr. King was killed in 1968, long before Yolanda was born. Scholastic News spoke to Yolanda about her grandfather and her work for social change

SN: What do you think made your grandfather great?

Yolanda: Back in the 1950s and ’60s, there were a lot of things that African Americans weren’t allowed to do. They were not even allowed to live in the neighborhood where I live now. Sometimes my friend and I talk about it. She’s white, and I’m black. If we were to travel back to the 1960s, we wouldn’t be able to be friends. My grandpa changed things.

Yolanda: Back in the 1950s and ’60s, there were a lot of things that African Americans weren’t allowed to do. They were not even allowed to live in the neighborhood where I live now. Sometimes my friend and I talk about it. She’s white, and I’m black. If we were to travel back to the 1960s, we wouldn’t be able to be friends. My grandpa changed things.

SN: When did you learn that he had played a huge role in U.S. history?

Yolanda: I knew my grandpa was famous from the time I was little. But I didn’t really think about how important he was to the world. I just thought of him as my grandpa. Now that I’m older, I understand more. I hear about the marches that he planned. I think, “Wow!”  

Yolanda: I knew my grandpa was famous from the time I was little. But I didn’t really think about how important he was to the world. I just thought of him as my grandpa. Now that I’m older, I understand more. I hear about the marches that he planned. I think, “Wow!”

SN: Are you following in your grandfather’s footsteps?

Yolanda: In some ways I am. I am also making my own footsteps. I’m starting to give speeches at marches and other events. Last year, I spoke at a big march about stopping gun violence. That’s an issue I care a lot about. I also want to help the homeless and protect the environment.

Yolanda: In some ways I am. I am also making my own footsteps. I’m starting to give speeches at marches and other events. Last year, I spoke at a big march about stopping gun violence. That’s an issue I care a lot about. I also want to help the homeless and protect the environment.

SN: Can kids help make big changes?

Yolanda: A lot of people say, “Kids, you don’t need to worry about this stuff yet.” But I think kids can definitely make a difference. They can share their dreams with the world and help make their dreams happen.

 

NOTE: This interview has been condensed and edited by Scholastic News editors for grade level.

Yolanda: A lot of people say, “Kids, you don’t need to worry about this stuff yet.” But I think kids can definitely make a difference. They can share their dreams with the world and help make their dreams happen.

 

NOTE: This interview has been condensed and edited by Scholastic News editors for grade level.

1. How did Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. change America?

2. What text features help show that the article is an interview?

3. Explain what Yolanda Renee King means when she says “I am also making my own footsteps.” Include evidence from the article.

1. How did Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. change America?

2. What text features help show that the article is an interview?

3. Explain what Yolanda Renee King means when she says “I am also making my own footsteps.” Include evidence from the article.

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