Reading, 'riting and 'rithmetic are the three R's most people are familiar with, but youngsters attending last Thursday's Hesperia Branch Library events celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday were taught one more: the inequity of racism.

"So if you were the wrong color you couldn't go in the restaurant," June Klein, children's librarian at the Hesperia Branch Library, explained as she read the book "I Have A Dream" to a group of youngsters.

"That's no fair!" one girl blurted. "That's no fair!"

"And this one really hurts me," Klein said while turning another page of the illustration-laden book aimed at children ages 4 to 8. "If you were one color you could read in one part of the library. If you were another color you could read in another part. Even in the schools you couldn't go to class together."

Then Klein explained who King was and what he symbolizes today. "He's the leader of the civil rights movement."

"Dr. King learned under Mahatma Ghandi," she added, showing a picture of India's famous political and spiritual leader. "Mahatma Ghandi taught that change can be achieved through peace."

After reading the book, Klein gathered the children in a circle where they held hands and sang songs.

"We walk hand in hand," they sang to Pete Seeger's famous tune. "We walk hand in hand."

Klein handed out tambourines, maracas, shakers and other percussion instruments to the youngsters who joined in a spirited celebration. During craft time, the students created decorative bookmarks featuring a portion of King's famous speech, which concludes:
"...And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"