Martin Luther King
On August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King Jr delivered a speech to 250,000 supporters that is now known by millions around the world. He told the public that he had a dream that America would one day live by its declaration that “all men are created equal”. He asked that people be judged not by the “colour of their skin, but by the content of their character.” He imagined a world where “the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.”
Fifty-six years later his speech is still remembered for the enormous impact that it had on the civil rights movement in the US. But it was far from his only contribution. During his lifetime King led countless protests against segregation in the US. He also campaigned fiercely against poverty and war in America.
He was assassinated in 1968, aged just 39. However, despite his short life he helped to bring about major legal changes, including the end of segregation and tough measures to allow black people to vote.
Tuesday (January 15) is Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday; had he lived, it would have been his 90th.
What do you think he would have said about racism in the 21st century?
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Martin Luther King Jr did not change America by himself — this slideshow looks at the women of the civil rights movement who worked alongside him.
- Martin Luther King Jr once said: “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” As a class, discuss what you think he meant by those words, and what we can draw from them today.
- Create a detailed timeline of the key events of King’s life.
- It’s the year 2063, 100 years after King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Write your own version of the speech describing how far you imagine society will have changed in regards to racism, and what is left to be done.