The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a black clergyman who is ranked among the greatest of black Americans because of his crusade to win full civil rights for his people. Preaching nonviolence, he spoke and campaigned tirelessly to rid the United States of traditions and laws such as those that required black people to take back seats in buses or which obstructed voting by blacks.
A high point of this civil rights movement came on August 28, 1963, when more than 200,000 people of all races gathered in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., to hear King say:
|“I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveholders will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood….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.”|
The world was shocked when Dr. King was assassinated in 1968. Since then, special memorial services have marked his birthday on January 15. By vote of Congress, the third Monday of every January, beginning in 1986, is now a federal holiday in Dr. King’s honor.
So how will you and your family celebrate MLK day?
From books to videos and celebrations to special events, many resources are available to teach your children about MLK.
Read Martin Luther King books. Choose age-appropriate books to teach your kids about Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement. Here are a few reading suggestions to consider, depending on the age of your children.
- For preschoolers: A Picture Book of Martin Luther King, Jr.
- For grade school kids: Meet Martin Luther King, Jr.
- For high school students: The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Celebrate diversity. Celebrate MLK’s birthday by appreciating diversity. You can create a multicultural dinner where you serve food from various parts of the country and the world. From Italian pasta to Boston clam chowder and Chinese egg rolls to Atlanta peach pie, your children will love learning about the different cultures and foods from around the globe.
Listen to his words. Allow your kids to listen or read his “I Have a Dream” speech and other excerpts. Discuss what his words mean and talk about the civil rights movement and some of the problems that still exist today.
Attend special events. Almost every major city in the country holds special events and celebrations on MLK Day. Find out if there are any marches, parades, seminars, church services or other activities in your area.
Please join us in celebrating the life and times of this great man.
|“We will not resort to violence.
We will not degrade ourselves with hatred.
Love will not be returned with hate.”
–Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.