King’s Daughter Calls for Honor Song and Brotherhood in Chamberlain
Calling for a symphony of brotherhood rather than the jangled discord of our nation, Bernice King, the youngest daughter of Martin Luther King Jr., has asked the Chamberlain School District in South Dakota for a gesture of hope and healing “towards fulfilling my father’s dream.”
King has sent a letter to the Chamberlain School Board requesting that the Honor Song be played at graduation ceremonies. For the last five years, the school board has refused to allow the song at graduation saying it is against the school’s tradition.
On behalf of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, King wrote that the Honor Song conveys positive messages, especially when sung in the Lakota language. “It would allow non-Native students to express their respect and goodwill towards Native students, just as Native students have frequently joined in singing songs that originate in cultures different from their own.”
At this time, the school board has not yet reviewed the letter and is not yet ready to comment, according to the school’s superintendent Debra Johnson. Last year, Johnson and High School Principal Allan Bertram made the decision to incorporate the Honor Song in a special in-school assembly.
At one of last year’s school board meetings, the board announced that the conversation about the song was over for good, said James Cadwell, who has worked for five years to move the district towards allowing the song at graduation.
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