|Secondary Lessons and Resources
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Holiday and Day of Service
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. from Strength to Love, 1963
Miami Dade County Public Schools
Department of Social Sciences
THE SCHOOL BOARD OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA
Ms. Perla Tabares Hantman, Chair
Dr. Lawrence S. Feldman, Vice-Chair
Dr. Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall
Ms. Susie V. Castillo
Mr. Carlos L. Curbelo
Dr. Wilbert “Tee” Holloway
Dr. Martin Karp
Dr. Marta Pérez
Ms. Raquel A. Regalado
Mr. Alberto M. Carvalho
Superintendent of Schools
Mrs. Maria L. Izquierdo, Chief Academic Officer
Office of Academics and Transformation
Dr. Maria P. de Armas, Assistant Superintendent
Curriculum and Instruction, K-12 Core Curriculum
Mr. Robert C. Brazofsky, Executive Director
Department of Social Sciences
Introduction - History of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Holiday and National Day of Service
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day is an official holiday which has been celebrated on the third Monday of January since 1986. It is the first new holiday adopted in the United States since 1948, when Memorial Day was created as a “prayer for peace” day. It was one of three new holidays designated during the twentieth century; the other was Veteran’s Day, created as Armistice Day in 1926. Dr. King is the only American besides George Washington to have a national holiday designated for his birthday (those of Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Robert E. Lee and others have been celebrated in some states but not nationwide). Internationally, Dr. King is one of the few social leaders of any country to be honored with a holiday. Generally, such an honor is reserved for military or religious figures. Consequently, this holiday is a powerful tribute to Dr. King’s philosophy and nature.
When President Ronald Reagan signed the legislation establishing the holiday in November of 1983, it marked the end of a persistent, highly organized lobbying effort spanning the nation for 15 years. Representative John Conyers (D., Michigan), first introduced legislation for a commemorative holiday four days after Dr. King was assassinated in 1968. The bill became stalled in that legislative session. With help from New York Democratic Representative Shirley Chisholm, Conyers resubmitted the legislation in each subsequent legislative session.
The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) coordinated a petition drive, which resulted in more than six million signatures being submitted to Congress in 1970. Public support and pressure for the holiday increased during the 1982 and 1983 civil rights marches in Washington, D. C. Finally, a compromise was proposed, moving the holiday from January 15 (Dr. King’s actual birthday), to the third Monday in January, resulting in Congress passing the holiday legislation in 1983. President Ronald Reagan then signed it into law. The King Holiday is celebrated in some form in more than 100 countries throughout the world.
In 1994, Congress designated the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Holiday as a national day of service and charged the Corporation for National and Community Service with leading this effort. Taking place each year on the third Monday in January, the MLK Day of Service is the only federal holiday observed as a national day of service – a "day on, not a day off." The MLK Day of Service is a part of United We Serve, the President's national call to service initiative. It calls for Americans from all walks of life to work together to provide solutions to our most pressing national problems.
The MLK Day of Service is a way to transform Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life and teachings into community action that helps solve social problems. That service may meet a tangible need, or it may meet a need of the spirit. On this day, Americans of every age and background celebrate Dr. King through service projects that strengthen communities, empower individuals, bridge barriers, and create solutions.
An Instructional Note to Teachers
Each year, on the third Monday in January, the nation observes the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday and day of service. The holiday and day of service commemorate the enduring vision and legacy of Dr. King to our nation and the world.
To assist schools, staff in the Department of Social Sciences has developed this instructional resource guide that includes background information, suggested classroom activities, and Internet resources on the life and legacy of Dr. King. The resources in this guide include:
Background information that is helpful for both the teacher and student is provided.
LESSONS, ACTIVITIES, AND STRATEGIES FOR SECONDARY STUDENTS
Detailed lesson plans with all support materials needed to teach about the life and contributions of Dr. King are provided in this section of the guide.
Related lesson plans, teacher background information, interactive activities and downloadable worksheets may be found on the web sites listed in this section of the guide.
Teachers are highly encouraged to utilize the resources and lessons found in this resource packet to reinforce the contributions of Dr. King, whenever appropriate, throughout the school year. Teachers are further encouraged to select and adapt the resources and lessons to best fit the needs of their students.
Getting Involved - The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service
Biography of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Timeline of Events in the Life of Dr. King
Civil Rights Timeline - Milestones in the Modern Civil Rights Movement
Memorable Quotes by Dr. King
Text of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” Speech
Information on the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, Washington, D.C.
Getting Involved - The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service
January 19, 2015 will mark the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. federal holiday. This milestone is a perfect opportunity for Americans to honor Dr. King’s legacy through service. The MLK Day of Service empowers individuals, strengthens communities, bridges barriers, creates solutions to social problems, and moves us closer to Dr. King’s vision of a beloved community.
Explore the following website to learn more about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and how you can participate in the Day of Service.
What is the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service?
After a long struggle, legislation was signed in 1983 creating a federal holiday marking the birthday of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
In 1994, Congress designated the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Holiday as a national day of service and charged the Corporation for National and Community Service with leading this effort. Taking place each year on the third Monday in January, the MLK Day of Service is the only federal holiday observed as a national day of service – a "day on, not a day off." The MLK Day of Service is a part of United We Serve, the President's national call to service initiative. It calls for Americans from all walks of life to work together to provide solutions to our most pressing national problems. The MLK Day of Service empowers individuals, strengthens communities, bridges barriers, creates solutions to social problems, and moves us closer to Dr. King's vision of a "Beloved Community."
Why Serve on the Day of Service?
Dr. King believed in a nation of freedom and justice for all, and encouraged all citizens to live up to the purpose and potential of America by applying the principles of nonviolence to make this country a better place to live - creating the Beloved Community.
The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service is a way to transform Dr. King’s life and teachings into community action that helps solve social problems. That service may meet a tangible need, or it may meet a need of the spirit. On this day, Americans of every age and background celebrate Dr. King through service projects that strengthen communities, empower individuals, bridge barriers, and create solutions.
How can I serve on MLK Day?
People of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities can get involved. Just fill in your zip code in the Find a Project box at http://mlkday.gov/serve/find.php to locate a volunteer opportunity in your community or plan your own project.
Source: Adapted from the Corporation for National and Community Service website for the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, http://mlkday.gov/about/serveonkingday.php
Biography of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a vital figure of the modern era. His lectures and dialogues stirred the concern and sparked the conscience of a generation. The movements and marches he led brought significant changes in the fabric of American life through his courage and selfless devotion. This devotion gave direction to thirteen years of civil rights activities. His charismatic leadership inspired men and women, young and old, in this nation and around the world.
Dr. King’s concept of “somebodiness,” which symbolized the celebration of human worth and the conquest of subjugation, gave black and poor people hope and a sense of dignity. His philosophy of nonviolent direct action, and his strategies for rational and non-destructive social change, galvanized the conscience of this nation and reordered its priorities. His wisdom, his words, his actions, his commitment, and his dream for a new way of life are intertwined with the American experience.
Birth and Family
Martin Luther King, Jr. was born at noon on Tuesday, January 15, 1929 at the family home, 501 Auburn Avenue, N.E., Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Charles Johnson was the attending physician. Martin Luther King, Jr. was the first son and second child born to the Reverend Martin Luther King, Sr. and Alberta Williams King. Also born to the Kings were Christine, now Mrs. Isaac Farris, Sr., and the Reverend Alfred Daniel Williams King. The Reverend A.D. King is now deceased.
Martin Luther King, Jr.’s maternal grandparents were the Reverend Adam Daniel Williams, second pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, and Jenny Parks Williams. His paternal grandparents were James Albert and Delia King, sharecroppers on a farm in Stockbridge, Georgia.
He married Coretta Scott, the younger daughter of Obadiah and Bernice McMurry Scott of Marion, Alabama, on June 18, 1953. The marriage ceremony took place on the lawn of the Scott’s home in Marion, Alabama. The Rev. King, Sr. performed the service, with Mrs. Edythe Bagley, the sister of Coretta Scott King as maid of honor, and the Rev. A.D. King, the brother of Martin Luther King, Jr., as best man.
Four children were born to Dr. and Mrs. King:
Yolanda Denise (November 17, 1955, Montgomery, Alabama)
Martin Luther III (October 23, 1957, Montgomery, Alabama)
Dexter Scott (January 30, 1961, Atlanta, Georgia)
Bernice Albertine (March 28, 1963, Atlanta, Georgia)
At the age of five, Martin Luther King, Jr. began school, before reaching the legal age of six, at the Yonge Street Elementary School in Atlanta. When his age was discovered, he was not permitted to continue in school and did not resume his education until he was six. Following Yonge School, he was enrolled in David T. Howard Elementary School. He also attended the Atlanta University Laboratory School and Booker T. Washington High School. Because of his high scores on the college entrance examinations in his junior year of high school, he advanced to Morehouse College without formal graduation from Booker T. Washington. Having skipped both the ninth and twelfth grades, Dr. King entered Morehouse at the age of fifteen.
In 1948, he graduated from Morehouse College with a B.A. degree in Sociology. That fall he enrolled in Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania. While attending Crozer, he also studied at the University of Pennsylvania. He was elected President of the Senior Class and delivered the valedictory address. He won the Peral Plafkner Award as the most outstanding student, and he received the J. Lewis Crozer Fellowship for graduate study at a university of his choice. He was awarded a Bachelor of Divinity degree from Crozer in 1951.
In September of 1951, Martin Luther King, Jr. began doctoral studies in Systematic Theology at Boston University. He also studied at Harvard University. His dissertation, “A Comparison of the Conceptions of God in the Thinking of Paul Tillich and Henry Nelson Wieman,” was completed in 1955, and the Ph.D. degree was awarded on June 5, 1955.
Dr. King was awarded honorary degrees from various colleges and universities in the United States and several foreign countries. They include:
Doctor of Humane Letters, Morehouse College
Doctor of Laws, Howard University
Doctor of Divinity, Chicago Theological Seminary
Doctor of Laws, Morgan State University
Doctor of Humanities, Central State University
Doctor of Divinity, Boston University
Doctor of Laws, Lincoln University
Doctor of Laws, University of Bridgeport
Doctor of Civil Laws, Bard College
Doctor of Letters, Keuka College
Doctor of Divinity, Wesleyan College
Doctor of Laws, Jewish Theological Seminary
Doctor of Laws, Yale University
Doctor of Divinity, Springfield College
Doctor of Laws, Hofstra University
Doctor of Humane Letters, Oberlin College
Doctor of Social Science, Amsterdam Free University
Doctor of Divinity, St. Peter’s College
Doctor of Civil Law, University of New Castle, Upon Tyne
Doctor of Laws, Grinnell College
Martin Luther King, Jr. entered the Christian ministry and was ordained in February 1948 at the age of nineteen at Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta, Georgia. Following his ordination, he became Assistant Pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church. Upon completion of his studies at Boston University, he accepted the call of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. He was the pastor of Dexter Avenue from September 1954 to November 1959, when he resigned to move to Atlanta to direct the activities of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. From 1960 until his death in 1968, he was co-pastor with his father at Ebenezer Baptist Church.
Dr. King was a pivotal figure in the Civil Rights Movement. He was elected President of the Montgomery Improvement Association, the organization that was responsible for the successful Montgomery Bus Boycott from 1955 to 1956 (381 days). He was arrested thirty times for his participation in civil rights activities. He was a founder and president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference from 1957 to 1968. He was also Vice President of the National Sunday School and Baptist Teaching Union Congress of the National Baptist Convention. He was a member of several national and local boards of directors and served on the boards of trustees of numerous institutions and agencies. Dr. King was elected to membership in several learned societies including the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Dr. King received numerous awards for his leadership in the Civil Rights Movement. Among them were the following:
Selected as one of the ten most outstanding personalities of the year by Time Magazine, 1957.
Listed in Who’s Who in America, 1957.
The Spingarn Medal from the NAACP, 1957.
The Russwurm Award from the National Newspaper Publishers, 1957.
The Second Annual Achievement Award from The Guardian Association of the Police Department of New York, 1958.
Selected as one of the sixteen world leaders who had contributed most to the advancement of freedom during 1959 by Ling Magazine of New Delhi, India.
Named “Man of the Year, “by Time Magazine, 1963.
Named “American of the Decade,” by the Laundry, Dry Cleaning, and Die Workers, International Union, 1963.
The John Dewey Award, from the United Federation of Teachers, 1964.
The John F. Kennedy Award, from the Catholic Interracial Council of Chicago, 1964.
The Nobel Peace Prize, at age 35, the youngest man, second American, and the third black man to be so honored, 1964.
The Marcus Garvey Prize for Human Rights, presented by the Jamaican Government, posthumously, 1968.
The Rosa L. Parks award, presented by The Southern Christian Leadership Conference, posthumously, 1968.
The Aims Field-Wolf Award for his book, Stride Toward Freedom.
The above awards and others, along with numerous citations, are in the Archives of The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, Inc. in Atlanta, Georgia.
Although extremely involved with his family, his church, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, activities for peace and justice, his world travels, and his many speaking engagements, Dr. King wrote six books and numerous articles. His volumes include:
Stride Toward Freedom, (New York: Harper & Row, 1958). The story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
The Measure of a Man, (Philadelphia: Pilgrim Press, 1959). A selection of sermons.
Why We Can’t Wait, (New York: Harper & Row, 1963). The story of the Birmingham Campaign.
Strength to Love, (New York: Harper & Row, 1963). A selection of sermons.
Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? (New York: Harper & Row, 1967). Reflections on the problems of today’s world, the nuclear arms race, etc.
The Trumpet of Conscience, (New York: Harper & Row, 1968). The Massey Lectures. Sponsored by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. (Posthumously).
Dr. King was shot while standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4, 1968. Dr. King was in Memphis to help lead sanitation workers in a protest against low wages and intolerable working conditions. James Earl Ray was arrested in London, England on June 8, 1968, and returned to Memphis, Tennessee on July 19, 1969 to stand trial for the assassination of Dr. King. On March 9, 1969, before coming to trial, he entered a guilty plea and was sentenced to ninety-nine years in the Tennessee State Penitentiary.
On December 8, 1999, a jury of twelve citizens of Memphis, Shelby County, TN concluded in Coretta Scott King, Martin Luther King, III, Bernice King, Dexter Scott King and Yolanda King Vs. Loyd Jowers and Other Unknown Conspirators that Loyd Jowers and governmental agencies including the City of Memphis, the State of Tennessee, and the federal government were party to the conspiracy to assassinate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Dr. King’s funeral services were held on April 9, 1968 at Ebenezer Baptist Church and on the campus of Morehouse College, with the President of the United State proclaiming a day of mourning and flags being flown at half-staff. The area where Dr. King is entombed is located on Freedom Plaza and is surrounded by the Freedom Hall Complex of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Historic Site. The site is a 23-acre area was listed as a National Historic Landmark on May 5, 1977 and was made a National Historic Site on October 10, 1980 by the U.S. Department of the Interior.