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Chicago Public Schools Hosts Black History Month Conversation with New York Times Best-Selling Author of “King: A Life”

23 February 2023

CPS Office of Communications

Phone: 773-553-1620
Twitter: @chipubschools
Facebook: chicagopublicschools

CHICAGO – Chicago Public Schools (CPS) continued its celebration of Black History Month today at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Academy of Social Justice as students and staff met with local author and biographer, Jonathan Eig, to discuss the life and legacy of Dr. King. The Englewood-based school, named for the civil rights icon in 2016, and strives to honor King's legacy by empowering students to become agents of social change in their community. Eig’s new book, “King: A Life,” shares newly-uncovered information on the life and legacy of the Civil Rights leader that gave the school its name. Today’s event provided students with the unique opportunity to explore the never-before-shared history of Dr. King and his impact on our city, nation, and world.

“Dr. King’s life is important not only for the students at MLK Academy of Social Justice, but for all our students around the city who continue to be impacted by his lasting legacy,” said CPS CEO Pedro Martinez. “As a District, we aim to ensure that our students are not only academically prepared to succeed after high school, but also socially, emotionally, and culturally prepared to be successful members of their community and our Democracy. Discussions like the one we hosted today help make that goal a reality, and I couldn’t be more excited to watch our students become the next generation of socially-engaged civic leaders.”

Eig, a CPS parent three times over, is the author of 10 books, including three New York Times best sellers. Eig’s new book, “King: A Life” seeks to provide an unfiltered view of Dr. King’s life, work, and legacy, which, according to the author, is often “misunderstood.” During his conversation with MLK Academy students, Eig shared that books like “King: A Life” are necessary to understanding the complicated life and work of the often politicized civil rights icon.

“During his activism, Dr. King was one of the most divisive figures in American history. Although we celebrate him today with a national holiday, over time his life’s work has been watered down by those who want to silence him,” said Eig. “Today the students at the MLK Academy of Social Justice learned there’s more to the man than previously advertised.”

In honor of the school’s namesake and in celebration of Black History Month, Eig will donate copies of his books to the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Academy of Social Justice.

The students’ conversation with Eig will be available on the Chicago Public Schools YouTube channel.