Resources for Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Mon 9 2012

This year, Martin Luther King Jr. Day falls on January 16. Created and first observed in the 1980s, this holiday honors the life of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and the philosophy of nonviolent protest. Do you teach the day in your classroom? How do you teach it? Do you focus on King's life and work? Do you look at the Civil Rights Movement as a whole? Do you talk about citizenship and social action? Do you encourage students to participate in the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service?

No matter how you approach the day, our Martin Luther King Jr. Day spotlight page can help. Browse the page to find teaching strategies, quizzes, website reviews, online lectures, and more on Martin Luther King Jr., the Civil Rights Movement, and active citizenship.

Explore materials on other websites as well:

  • Teach with the picture book biography Martin's Big Words using the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History guide.
  • Introduce students to Dr. King's policies of nonviolence with two lesson plans from EDSITEment. (Search the site for more lesson plans on the Civil Rights Movement and social reform.)
  • The National Archives and Records Administration preserves documents created before King's assassination, as well as other notable materials related to King, including the official program from the March on Washington.
  • The Library of Congress "Today in History" feature for January 15 leads you into its collections on Dr. King and African American history.
  • Explore back issues of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History online journal History Now for essays, lesson plans, suggested resources, and more.
  • Watch videos, view photographs, and listen to speeches related to Martin Luther King Jr. on's Martin Luther King Jr. topic page.
  • Read about Martin Luther King Jr.'s work with the labor movement and watch a short video clip from the American Federation of Teachers.

About the Author

Lara Harmon is a Senior Research Associate for She received her BA from George Mason University.