1.17.2010

Martin Luther King Day

Since 1986, the third Monday of January has been celebrated as Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in the United States. When Americans are asked to name their personal hero, Dr. King is always one of the most popular choices. I can relate to the respect so many people have for the civil rights movement leader. When I was in elementary school, I dressed up in a suit jacket and facial hair painted on with mascara to recite an excerpt of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s famous "I Have a Dream" speech for our living statues presentation.

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

To celebrate the day, let students watch a video of King's moving "I Have a Dream" speech at Holidays.net. Also check out their Martin Luther King, Jr. Day coloring pages.

Visit the Seattle Times Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement page for biographical information, photo galleries and lots of lesson ideas covering timeline skills, summarizing, reading comprehension and more. Then check out the His Words page where you can find pdfs of eight of King's famous speeches and several audio clips of MLK's original speeches.

After reading "Letter from a Birmingham Jail," discuss why Martin Luther King, Jr. was in jail at the time he wrote the famous message. Then learn about civil disobedience at Congress for Kids, The U.S. Congress children's website.

Click over to The King Center website to be reminded that service was one of the things Martin Luther King, Jr. valued most. After getting inspired by the audio excerpt of Dr. King's speech, "The Drum Major Instinct," go to Serve.gov to find service opportunities in your area. Just type in your zip code, and you will receive a big list of volunteer services needed near you.

Image from The Seattle Times MLK page.

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