Educator Resources

Martin Luther King Jr. Teaching Resources

Martin Luther King Day, January 17, 2011, is a day to honor the life, accomplishments and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.  with your students.

Background Information:

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a national holiday that honors a man who dedicated his life to further the cause of civil rights in America.

Dr. King was born on January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia.  When he was only 15 years old, he enrolled in Morehouse College in Atlanta. He earned a B.A. in Sociology. He then entered the Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania followed by doctoral studies in Theology at Boston University. He married Coretta Scott in 1953.

Dr. King worked as pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama.  It was in Alabama where Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a public bus to a white passenger.  Dr. King then organized the black community in a 13-month boycott of the city's segregated buses.  He became known throughout the country as a civil rights leader who believed in non-violent protests and demonstrations.  He helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957 to work toward civil rights for African-Americans. 

Dr. King inspired the support of many people and in August 1963, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, he gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech to a crowd of over 250,000 people who had marched on Washington for civil rights.  In 1964, when Dr. King was 35 years old, he became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

In April 1968, while Dr. King visited Memphis, Tennessee, to support striking workers, he was shot and killed.

On August 2, 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed the law to make Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday a national legal holiday celebrated on the third Monday in January.  This national observance began in 1986.

Resources for Teaching about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.:

Children’s Books on Dr. King:

Adler, David. Heroes for Civil Rights

Adler, David. Martin Luther King Jr.: Free at Last

Adler, David.  A Picture Book of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Bull, Angela. Free at Last: The Story of Martin Luther King, Jr. (DK Readers Level 4)

Farris, Christine King. March On! The Day My Brother Martin Changed the World

Hakim, Rita.  Martin Luther King, Jr. and the March Toward Freedom

King, Dr. Martin Luther Jr. I Have a Dream

Leslie, Tonya. Martin Luther King, Jr. A Life of Fairness

Lowery, Linda. Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Marzollo, Jean. Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King 

Mattern, Joanne. Young Martin Luther King, Jr.: I Have A Dream 

Meyers, Walter Dean. I've Seen the Promised Land: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Moore, Johnny Ray, and Andrea Wummers, The Story of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Pastan, Amy. Martin Luther King, Jr. (DK Biography)

Patrick, Denise. Lesson for Martin Luther King, Jr (Ready to Read)

Patrick, Diane.  Martin Luther King Jr.

Patterson, Lillie. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Freedom Movement

Rappaport, Doreen. Martin’s Big Words

Ruffin, Frances. Martin Luther King and the March on Washington

, Pam. Martin Luther King, Jr. (Real People)

Internet Lesson Plans and Activities:

EduPlace MLK JR. Activities for grades K-8

Educator’s Network has lessons for grades 6-8 on Dr. King's Power of Non-Violence as well as general activities to celebrate and learn about Dr. King, available here:

MLK Activities


Interactive Lesson on Speech interactive cloze activity using the “I Have a Dream” speech.


TeachNology Unit Builders  includes songs about Dr. King, vocabulary, multimedia resources and more.


Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Activities from Teacher Created Materials


Dr. King's Dream National Endowment for the Humanities lesson for Grades K-2


MKL Jr. Lesson Plans from Educators’ Network  Martin Luther King, Jr. activities and resources for children  


King Institute at Stanford University Lesson Plans:  This site offers lesson plans for grades 9-12.

Additional Internet Resources:

MLKOnline This web site has speeches, quotes, pictures, video and audio of Dr. King, as well as a biography

National Civil Rights Museum The museum offers a comprehensive overview of the civil rights movement.

The Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site is in Georgia.  This web site is run by the National Parks Service.

The King Papers Project
 This is Stanford University’s web site for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute.  It contains a comprehensive collection of Dr. King’s correspondence, sermons, publications, speeches, as well as a King Online Encyclopedia and a timeline of his life.

The King Center Coretta Scott King established the center in 1968 as a living memorial of Dr. King’s life and work.

MLK Day of Service  See also DOE Social Studies Parent Resource Page for service opportunities for students. Has front pages from many newspapers that covered Dr. King’s assassination.

The NAACP web site offers history on the civil rights struggle of the 20th century.

The website has information on Dr. King's 1964 award. has several resources that may be useful:

MLK: The Legacy of a Leader

Civil Rights: how far have we come?

Scholastic play: Nonviolence on the Move:

Several universities have pages dedicated to the life of Dr. King, including:

Louisiana State University

Long Island University

Morehouse College (Atlanta)

Images Available Online:

Life Magazine: Martin Luther King Jr. a Life Tribute This site has photographs of Dr. King and images of the Civil Rights movement

The Seattle Times Online has a photo gallery with many photos of Dr. King.

Powerful Days in Black and White offers photos by photographer Charles Moore