Benjamin Community Powerfully Reflects on Life of MLK during Annual Assembly


Haley Roth

Students gather in Benjamin Hall to learn about Dr. King

On Jan. 13, the Benjamin community gathered in Benjamin Hall for its Annual MLK Assembly. Containing multiple speakers, videos, and a choir performance, this annual assembly was informational and emotional. 

The Assembly started off with the two student hosts, Micah Mays and Jacob Cosby-Mosley, introducing The Head of the Upper School, Mr. Carr, to share his opening remarks as well as a video highlighting the activism of Dr. King. 

The entirety of Benjamin School realizes why the MLK Assembly was necessary to continue to show the relevancy of Dr. King’s message. The importance of a holiday celebrating Dr. King and his contributions to the world was stressed throughout the entire assembly. 

“I think for so many reasons in the world right now in terms of diversity and inclusion, issues like that, to be able to celebrate what Martin Luther King, Jr. did and what he was still attempting to do when he was assassinated is a really important part of what a school year should entail,” Head of Upper School Mr. Carr said. “We should be looking at those values and that work and have a chance to think about his efforts each year at this time.”  

The Assembly also highlighted the struggles that Dr. King, as an advocate for African American rights, faced. The purpose of this was to show students that even though it is a challenge, change is worthwhile. 

“I think it’s important to recognize, as the guest speaker talked about, that working for social change and social justice is a process, it’s a difficult process, and like Mr. Carr was talking about, it’s important to remember that these activists were people. That should inspire us to make change as they made change,” said Social Studies teacher Mr. Posner.  

After an introduction focused on Dr. King’s life as well as the importance of his message, guest speaker Dr. Christopher Strain from the Wilkes Honors College of FAU, informed the assembly on the history of African American activism as well as details about Dr. King.

“We usually like to have a guest speaker just to have an outside perspective, and Dr. Strain happened to be someone Mr. Posner, in the history department, worked with,” said Mr. Carr. “His academic preparation was in twentieth-century American history, particularly African American history, and we thought he would be a good person to bring that fresh perspective this year.”

Senior Kelvin Rolle also shared his experiences learning about Martin Luther King with a speech and slideshow of his travels to Dr. King’s memorials. He reminded students that the holiday for Dr. King is designed as a day of service, telling the audience about the different ways he served his community. 

Following this, the Upper School Choir performed a South African prayer for peace known as Ukutulah. 

“I think the choir performance hopefully had more of an emotional impact. I think one of the things music can do that nothing else can do is resonate emotionally much more quickly with people. Even though it’s sung in a different language, it doesn’t take away from the emotionalism in that,” said Mr. Posner. “Most people, if they were really paying attention to it and really being part of that performance as an audience, were reacting to it in a way that was emotionally honest. For me, it was very effective and affecting.”

This year’s MLK Assembly taught students the value of being human as well as the importance of having a voice. 

“I learned how important it is to speak up for what you think is right and never to let anybody invalidate what you advocate for,” said sophomore Bella Marx. 

Overall, the assembly was a necessary reminder of the importance of advocacy as well as the impact Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. made on the world as a whole.