On a day of celebration and remembrance, young visitors to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center in Atlanta told the JJIE what the man and his work from four decades ago mean to them and the world today. We asked: "Why do you think the work of Martin Luther King is important to us today?" These are their responses.
Photographs by Jenni Girtman.
Tyvian Nalls, 5, Marietta, Ga.; "It's important for us, to help us. It's important for changing the world."
Cameron Holloway, 13. Powder Springs, Ga.; "If he didn't do that it would still be racisim. Stuff like the colored water fountains and restaurants, sitting in the back of the bus."
Nakiah Evans,11, Union City, Ga.; "I probably wouldn't be here. I am mixed race."
Candler Vance, 7, Marietta, Ga.; "If he never was around, black and white people would never get to go to resaurants together and drink out of the same water fountain . . . and do the same stuff. It's important for kids to play together and it doesn't matter what race they are."
Anna Smith, 15, Ellenwood, Ga; "He did change a lot of minds, I wish he was still here so he could change more minds. The youth will agree on making the world a better place."
Forrest Mitchell, 15, Atlanta; "Martin Luther King, he is a hero, if it wasn't for him you probably wouldn't even be interviewing me. He helped us blacks and whites get together and stop all the racism. It's very important, what he did. I wouldn't be at the same school I'm at, it's very important. He changed the world."
Destiny Jones, 7, Riverdale, Ga.; "It was good, it was perfect and it was special."
Jaybonn Hood, 17, Atlanta; "He impacted our lives so greatly. He had many great movements. He had a great influence on our culture. It is good to know where we came from and where we are today and to learn about our history."
Rachael Hwang, 14, Korea; "We can live happily because of Martin Luther King's work and I think it is important."
Savion Hairston, 9; "He fought for civil rights. It allows us to play with friends that are not in our race. It allows you to go to school with other people."