Historical Figure & Event

In 1929, Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on this day.

January 15
Calendar Activity Type
Historical Figure & Event

Event Description

Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on this day in 1929. Following in his father's and grandfather's footsteps, he was ordained as a minister in 1948. Dr. King became one of the most important leaders of the civil rights movement in the U.S., advocating a nonviolent approach to fighting for equal rights. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. Dr. King was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968.

Classroom Activity

Listen to a recording of Martin Luther King's I Have a Dream speech and discuss the meaning of his words. This I Have a Dream lesson plan includes numerous discussion questions that can help guide class exploration of the speech.

Once students understand this speech, ask them how they would convey Dr. King's vision and character without using words. To get started, look at these photographs of Dr. King and historical events in which he was involved. What messages are these photographs communicating?

Using the photographs as a model, have students work in groups or as a class to create a mural that depicts their understanding of Dr. King's vision of peace. The Art and Activism unit from Tolerance.org includes lessons on planning, creating, and sharing murals that you can use to get your own class mural underway. Once the project is complete, display murals throughout your school to honor Dr. King.


On January 20, 2014, people throughout the world will honor the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. Find out how to participate by making this holiday "a day ON, not a day off."

The Seattle Times provides an extensive collection of resources including articles, transcripts, photos, and information about the holiday in King's honor.

Visitors to this extremely comprehensive site will find a chronology, encyclopedia, biography, videos, lesson plans, and more.

This PBS American Experience website offers a collection of resources, including information on Dr. King's philosophy of non-violence, video clips, and an interactive map of U.S. Civil Rights hot spots. Also featured is a teacher's guide to the Citizen King documentary.

Related Resources