P.S. 119 Amersfort School of Social Awareness

P.S. 119 Amersfort School of Social Awareness

Magnet School of Global & Ethical Studies – 3829 Avenue K, Brooklyn NY 11210 (718) 377-7696

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Why a Mountain? Reflections on Dr. King’s Final Speech

A film by Ugonna Igweatu based on MLK, Jr. Lessons by Genevieve Berretta with Technology Educator Interface – Frank Jump

Podcasts of Spoken Word

Why a Mountain? by Rebecca Fraser

Yes…why a mountain?
So very high on
the top
I am scared
to fall but
happy to see
the Promised Land
Looking at the clouds
They’re so powerful
Looking down on this
mountain
Wanting to fly
but why on this
mountain
is it giving me a
sign?
Should I jump?
Show me the
Promised Land
Help me for I
might be
Blind
I see my
destination
on this
mountaintop
So very high on
the top
I am scared
to fall but
happy to see
the Promised Land

Why A Mountain? by Yveemira Pierre

A mountain is where
You can see from far
And wide
A mountain is where
You can see the dark
Past and the
Bright Promised
Land
A mountain is
Where we can
See the future
Where we live together
As one
Nation

Why a Mountain? by Kelia Stephens

Seeing death
hearing lies
Facing trouble
You say
It’s all going to stop
but it’s not
Cross the mountain
See the Promised Land
Be free
But…why a mountain?
Why not a hill or a lake?
Buy why a mountain?
Why a mountain?
It is the passage way to the Promised Land
Why a mountain?
A mountain is hard to climb
And…
Life is a climb

What Martin Meant by Adrien Brunache

Martin Luther King was on the mountaintop metaphorically speaking. I think what MLK, Jr. meant by the mountaintop was a mountaintop was high into heaven–into a better place. The mountaintop was place where he could shout down from heaven. It is a place bigger than Earth. A place where he could tell everyone it is okay.

The Sky is Blue by Dane Pitter

The sky is
blue…my mind
is clear I’m not
thinking about nothing
…but to figure
out how you changed
the world…
Every day of the year
Every minute of the day
Every second of a minute
You inspired people
The leaders of the world
Listened
The land
is free it’s a
free country
No more slavery
You and Abraham Lincoln
Rosa Parks, Malcolm X
Gandhi
You are on
The mountaintop
Your names
Echo in my mind
The sky is blue
My mind is clear
You made change …
A mountain of change

A Mountain of Change: Sing Your Song by Serena Parke

Sing a song
From your own heart
For the world to hear
From that mountain peak
Do what you want to do
It is your own song
Sing from that mountaintop
Up over the clouds
Sing for all the world to hear
It’s what you’re good at
And if you fall…
You will be in my heart

Beginning to End by Serena Parke

A mountain high
A valley low
A river says:
“Quench your thirst and drink from me.”
The grass is glistening with morning dew
From that mountaintop
From that ice cap
Are you afraid to fall?
Sooner or later
we will get there
That peaceful valley
Just over the mountain

Look Over the Mountain by Kelyse Land

When I look over the mountain
I see the future in my heart
A happy place where
Blacks and whites
are living together
When I look over the mountain
I see the dream
That I am living
In the special
mountain of my heart
I say
“Thank you mountain…
you are the future of life”

Why a Mountain by Amencis Berquin

Why a mountain did Martin climb
It must have taken a long time
Why a mountain?
He almost succeeded
When it started to rain he still proceeded
Why a mountain did Martin climb
When pushed down he climbed
Back all the time
Martin finally reached the top
People helped except for one
Instead he pushed Martin down
It was a dream he had that did come true
It was a hard job for Martin to do
But he did that job for me and you

Poem by Isaiah Williams

The mountain talked
To Martin Luther
King Jr.
“Climb on me, trust me
and
believe in me”
Martin was asked
To climb on
The mountain
Martin climbed
He didn’t give up

The Climb by Nina Turner

The climb
And the
Struggle is
Our hardship
Our power
Comes from
Him, the
Promised Land
Is slowly approaching
Finally, we made it
Just over the mountaintop is
The new beginning
Hope, faith, perseverance
Will lead me to
My new
World
Peace is me
And I am it…
I have a dream
And…
Hope leads it

Why a Mountain by Ajene Barton

He picked a mountaintop
But why?
Why not a building
Why not a skyscraper to climb?
A mountaintop
Is hard to get to
You may slip and…
You may fall
It would be like climbing a wall
When you reach the peak
The land is a beauty
It is all you ever imagined
It is all you ever dreamed
He has climbed that mountain
He was at the peak
He found the beautiful land
He went out to seek

Why a Mountain by Daniel Anyasi

Why a mountain
Did he climb?
It takes time to get to the top
Why a mountain?
The mountain was a barrier
It blocked the gleaming Promised Land
But even the struggle
Even the hardship
We shall overcome it
We shall get to the Promised Land
Over that mountain
He overcame it
He did and we did

Why a Mountain? By Hendel Charles

Why a mountain?
A mountain of hope
A mountain of cries
A mountain of struggle
For the people who die
Why a mountain?
A mountain of peace
A mountain of speech
“Yes, you can reach
the top of me?”
Why a mountain?
A mountain of death
To overcome fear
A mountain of freedom
That is very near
Why a mountain?
A mountain of care
A mountain is fair
A mountain of mighty praise
A mountain of new days

Why a Mountain? by Aiza Malik

People struggle their way out
A mountain that you stare at
Why is it there?
Is it for me?
Should I go?
I’ll reach my goal
Behind my back there is an
Ugly world
That’ll open your eyes so wide
For you to understand what’s
Behind you—so bad—you need to fix it
You compete against things
You want
Segregation shall end
For a new world that will open
People struggle on that mountain to face their fears
Tears run down
Like a river of help
Climb the mountain to the top
Things that you fear you
Will overcome
So climb the mountain up
to the top

Why a Mountain? by Kisha Romain

A mountain is here
All the time from day to night
A mountain is what keeps us united
So close that it leaves us breathless
A mountain is what let us
See when we couldn’t
It’s what walked for us
When our legs were broken
It was there when our
hands weren’t working and it
reached out and grabbed
a star in the sky
Why a mountain?
It was here from the beginning of time
It’s what patted you on the back
And said, “I’m proud.”
But…
A mountain doesn’t have legs or eyes.
It doesn’t have a heart to say, “I’m proud,”
It doesn’t have hands to grab a star!
Why a mountain?
Why a mountain?
Martin was our mountain…

Why a Mountain? by Brittney Alexander

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, used the mountain as a metaphor for a reason. The mountain climb is the symbol of the struggles he had to go through to get to the top.

One of the struggles he went through was getting arrested because of unfair laws. This hurt him and caused him pain. Especially having people hate you because you were black hurt him inside.

Climbing a mountain is very rough. A mountain is the bridge to heaven. At the top you can seek: hope or a lost friend. Martin saw the Promised Land from the mountaintop. Every single day Martin lived through the pain and changed my own future.

These are the heartbreaking reasons why Dr. Martin Luther King compared the struggle for Civil Rights to climbing a mountain.

The Task for: Why a Mountain?

Students read along, actively listened to and discussed Dr. King’s final speech: “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop”. The focus of the discussion was the poetic devices he used in delivering this speech: repetition, metaphor and imagery.

In particular we focused on the mountain as a metaphor for the struggle for Civil Rights. Mountains are hard to climb. Many fell along the way and it was not because they did not try. Boulders created barriers and those boulders were a metaphor for: Slavery and post slavery Jim Crow Segregation laws, which were created to stop blacks from climbing to the top of that mountain which represented justice for all.

In his final speech given before striking Sanitation workers in Memphis the night before he died On April 3, 1968 he says: “I’ve been to the mountaintop and I’ve looked over and I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you but I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to that Promised Land.” The students were then asked in a discussion to ponder: Was Martin on a mountaintop? Did he see the Promised Land? What was the Promised Land?

In addition they were given the choice to ponder this use of mountain as a metaphor and: 1) write a poem using various poetic devices of their choice: rhyme, repetition, imagery and personification and line breaks; or 2) write a narrative response to support why the mountain is a strong symbol or metaphor of the Civil Rights struggle; all are 3) drawing the mountain Dr. King envisioned and using it as a Black History time-line of events in the struggle for Civil Rights. Some in process pieces of art are included on this board. Stop into Class 5-301 and 5-305 for a discussion of Dr. King’s poetry.

English Language Arts Standards » Writing: Grade 5

Production and Distribution of Writing

4. Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

5. With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.

6. Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.

10. Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.

English Language Arts Standards » Reading: Literature » Grade 5

Key Ideas and Details

1. Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.

2. Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text, including how characters in a story or drama respond to challenges or how the speaker in a poem reflects upon a topic; summarize the text.

Craft and Structure

4. Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative language such as metaphors and similes.

6. Describe how a narrator’s or speaker’s point of view influences how events are described.

English Language Arts Standards » Speaking & Listening » Grade 5

Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas

4. Report on a topic or text or present an opinion, sequencing ideas logically and using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.

5. Include multimedia components (e.g., graphics, sound) and visual displays in presentations when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or themes.

6. Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, using formal English when appropriate to task and situation

One Response to “Why a Mountain? Reflections on Dr. King’s Final Speech”

  1. 1
    fjump:

    Looking forward to recording more podcasts. This is an awesome project. Kudos Gen.

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