Honoring Martin Luther King With the Use of Primary Sources in the Classroom

As we celebrate Martin Luther King day in our nation, we wanted to share some resources for educators that you can use all year in your classroom. By using these sources, you and our students can dive into a deeper study of Martin Luther King Jr. and Civil Rights this holiday.  From celebrating our collective history, to understanding our local history and resources, there is something for everyone.

The list of MLK resources is IMMENSE, so we have spent time pulling out some resources from websites educators may not be as familiar with. Many of them are from universities with specific collections of papers and primary sources, and some are from our National Education Association and government agencies. They are listed in alphabetical order - but scroll down as every link on the list has GREAT resources.

As a note, take a close look at the websites located here as they have extended resources and classroom materials under multiple tables on their site.  We have annotated this selection of sites to give you a better idea of what is available on them but we have only touched the surface. Take some time to explore and enrich your teaching!

Anti-Defamation League: The Selma to Montgomery March:
Lesson Plan from ADL on Selma.

Create your own Andriod App for the Martin Luther King Jr. Speech with this interactive tutorial.

Edsitement: I have a Dream Speech- Celebrating the Vision of Martin Luther King
A wealth of resources exist at the EdSitement NEH funded site. This lesson focuses on the I Have a Dream Speech, but there are many others as well.

A recording of King’s speech augmented by rich primary sources and materials for students to analyze and synthesize.

I See the Promised Land:
The text of the speech from the night before his assassination.

An online resource that has entries from key people, events, and writings in the collection of Martin Luther King papers.

Martin Luther King  National Historic Site:
Curriculum which will help bring resources to your classroom to teach about the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

National Education Association: Resources for Teaching Martin Luther King
Did you know your National Education Association has resources for curriculum as well? Yes they do! Here is one on Martin Luther King (And PS there are other great ones on Selma as well! )

Newseum: “Make Some Noise: Students in the Civil Rights Movement”
Our amazing national museum of news shares these great resources on the Civil Rights Movement. 

A variety of resources used to teach about the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.

Teaching With Historic Places in Selma, Alabama
The National Park Service Teaching with Historic Places Program highlights the National Register sites in Selma including Brown Chapel AME Church and the first Confederate Capitol.

Teaching With Primary Sources: Materials from the TPS-Barat Program:
Outstanding resources compiled by the TPS-Barat program for teaching about Martin Luther King Jr.

TPS-MTSU: Primary Source Set 1850- Present
A great collection of resources from the TPS Partner at Middle Tennessee State University to give context to events leading to the Civil Rights Era and today.

This site includes a 1964 interview with MLK on the Civil Rights movement and additional primary source resources to support the content of the recorded interview.