All around the world, people celebrate Martin Luther King Day on the third Monday in January each year. This year it is January 18th. The holiday celebrates the achievements of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who was a honorable leader and vital figure of the American Civil Rights Movement. He worked hard in promoting racial equality throughout the US, and especially in the southern states.
Martin Luther King, Jr., wanted to end segregation on public transit, which in his time, meant that black people had to sit at the back of the bus. He inspired people to fight against injustice of all kinds, once saying: “Life’s persistent and most urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'”
Martin Luther King Day is one of the more recent federal holidays, and is also widely known as Martin Luther King’s birthday and Martin Luther King Jr Day. Some states combine the holiday it with other special event days on the same day. Examples of the different names and special events associated with Martin Luther King Day in some states include Wyoming Equality Day (Wyoming), Civil Rights Day (Arizona, New Hampshire), and Human Rights Day (Idaho). No matter what state this holiday is celebrated in, or which name it is called by, Martin Luther King Day will always be associated to racial acceptance and equality.
One combination of events and holiday that is increasingly gaining national attention is the MLK Day of Service, which encourages Americans of all ages and backgrounds to celebrate Dr. King through service projects that strengthen communities, empower individuals, bridge barriers, and create solutions. What better way to transform Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life vision and teachings into community action that helps solve social problems! Check out what Day of Service projects are in your area.
Many schools across the nation teach their students about the role that Martin Luther King, Jr. played in helping to eliminate some of the racial barriers that affected African-Americans all over the USA. His “I Have a Dream” speech was his most famous, portions of which is memorized by students throughout the nation each year. He became the youngest man to be awarded for his non-violent protests and beliefs. Sadly, this Nobel Peace Prize winner was assassinated in 1968. A memorial in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. opened in Washington, DC in 2011. It is aptly named “The Stone of Hope”.
For those of you with young children who are pre-school age or below the age of ten, reading bedtime stories is a great way to relax, spend quality time together, and a time to learn about important people in history. A few great books to share with your kids include A Picture Book of Martin Luther King, Jr.; My Daddy, Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. ; and I Am Martin Luther King, Jr from Scholastic.
These kids resources on Martin Luther King, Jr are fun for the, while teaching history!
A Picture Book of Martin Luther King, Jr. (Picture Book Biographies)My Daddy, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.I Am #4: Martin Luther King Jr.I am Martin Luther King, Jr. (Ordinary People Change the World)National Geographic Readers: Martin Luther King, Jr. (Readers Bios)Martin Luther King, Jr. and the March on Washington (Penguin Young Readers, Level 3)Martin’s Dream (Ready-to-Reads)Martin Luther King Jr. DayNational Geographic Kids Martin Luther King, Jr., Super Reader Level 3Martin Luther King, Jr. (55 Fun Facts about… Book 1)Dream March: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the March on Washington (Step into Reading)Martin Luther King Jr.: A Peaceful Leader (I Can Read Level 2)
My kids often like to color as I read them stories, and when possible I give them coloring pages, journaling sheets, and other worksheets that relate to what I am reading. It’s a great way to reinforce what is being taught. I made this I have a dream journal page to use with them, and wanted to share it with you. You can click on the image, or the title, to open the pdf in a new window to print.
Spend some quality time with your children teaching them about racial equality and the dreams of Martin Luther King Jr.
Want even more history resources? Check out this Massive Guide to Homeschooling History!