The SCLC Remembers Dr. King and Advocates for Quality Education

As part of the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Memphis, Tennessee, the new leadership of the Memphis Local Chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) invited the Rev. H. K. Matthews and me to speak on the importance of educational choice at their banquet. The SCLC honored Dr. King and promoted quality education, access and school choice as part of the solution to obtain Dr. King’s ‘Dream.’

After a long career in civil rights activism, Rev. H. K. Matthews retired from public service and now resides in Brewton, Alabama. He marched with Dr. King in Selma, sat at segregated lunch counters in Pensacola and was jailed 35 times during the process. For the past several years, he has contributed to school choice campaigns aimed at empowering low-income families with choices in education, which he calls a natural extension of the civil rights movement.

Several years ago, a fire and a passion for helping low-income and working-class families access high quality and equitable educational opportunities began to burn fiercely in Rev. H.K. Matthews’ soul. Having given most of his adult life to the cause of civil and human rights, he truly felt – and still does to this day – that a quality education is a way out for young people who have been caught up in a system that at times afforded them little or no hope academically or socially.

At the commemoration, Rev. Matthews and AFC emphasized that in education, one sizedoes not fit all and that school choice is the civil rights issue of our era.