Martin Luther King, Jr. Lesson Plan

I have a dream that one day, this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed. We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal. MLK 1963

..."No other day of the year brings so many peoples from different cultural backgrounds together in such a vibrant spirit of brother and sisterhood. Whether you are African-American, Hispanic or Native American, whether you are Caucasian or Asian-American, you are part of the great dream Martin Luther King, Jr. had for America. This is not a black holiday; it is a peoples' holiday. And it is the young people of all races and religions who hold the keys to the fulfillment of his dream." 
~ Coretta Scott King

Martin Luther King, Jr. Lesson Plan
Credit: MY HERO


Teachers: Use the following story written by John Lewis about Martin Luther King Jr. to inspire compassion and activism in your students, and ask them to identify a civil rights issue they can learn more about for this day of service.


The following story was written by Congressman John Lewis about his hero Martin Luther King Jr., the most influential civil rights leader in American history. Martin Luther King Jr. worked hard to understand human nature and its need for philosophical or spiritual guidance in order to create great change. This is his legacy that we all have come to respect and admire. His study of others who went before him gave him the wisdom to follow a good and righteous course in furthering the civil rights of all American citizens. 

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

By: John Lewis

Congressman John Lewis talks about how Martin Luther King Jr. inspired him as a young man during the Civil Rights Movement.

Discussion Questions

1. How does this story by John Lewis communicate to others the influence that Martin Luther King Jr. had on the United States of America?

2. How important are stories about our own national leaders who have influenced large segments of people who live in other countries?

3. How does Martin Luther King's humanity and compassion for others inspire each of us to learn more about how we can make a difference in our own communities?


Learn more about the 1963 March on Washington with the Following  Stories and Film 

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. "I Have a Dream" Speech
Credit: unknown

The March for Freedom 1963

Davon Johnson

Nonviolent civil disobedience based on Christian beliefs started long before the 1963 peaceful protest, March for Freedom on Washington D.C. PASSWORD: 2march4freedom1963

Bayard Rustin

By: Jasmine from Chapel Hill

Bayard Rustin was an important leader in the U.S. Civil Rights movement.


The March on Washington in 1963 was a pivotal moment in the history of civil rights. What changes were made after this peaceful protest? What still needs to be done today to ensure equal rights for all? Who is working towards that goal in your community, country or globally? What can you do? 


The following film created by a middle school student about Martin Luther King Jr. and why he is a hero.

Martin Luther King Jr: A True Hero

Kameron John feagans | Batchelor Middle School
This is a video about the life of Dr. Martin Luther King jr. and why he was a hero.

Who inspired Martin Luther King?

Dr. Benjamin Elijah Mays

By: Rev. Calvin O. Butts

Dr. Benjamin Elijah Mays mentored Reverend Calvin O. Butts, who is now pastor of the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, NY. 

Mahatma Gandhi

By: Navodit Maheshwari

Martin Luther King was greatly influenced by Gandhi's use of non-violent protest to enact change.

Who was inspired by Martin Luther King?

Barack Obama

By: Dylan R

Barack Obama was the 44th President of the United States.

An American Hero and My Hero

By: Cameron Cheshire

Martin Luther King, Jr.

By: Rev. Rosemary Bray McNatt
Martin Luther King, Jr. inspired Rev. Rosemary Bray McNatt.

Marian Wright Edelman

By: Staff Writer
Marian Wright Edelman was the first woman admitted to the Mississippi bar, contributed to Martin Luther King's Poor People's Campaign, and founded the Children's Defense Fund to advocate for poor and disabled children.


Discussion Questions

1.  How did Bayard Rustin, Dr. Benjamin Elijah Mays, and/or Mahatma Gandhi inspire Martin Luther King Jr.?

2. Rev. Rosemary Bray McNatt, Marian Wright Edelman, and Barack Obama were inspired by Martin Luther King Jr. What effect did he have on each of their lives?

3. Who is an advocate for equal rights in your community or country? Share his or her story with MY HERO.

4. Who in your family or community inspires you? 


Stories about Martin Luther King Jr. 

Martin Luther King, Jr.

By: Russell Kang

Martin Luther King Jr.

By: Gehrig and Jonathan from Cincinnati

Martin Luther King Jr.

By: Jam Davis

Martin Luther King

By: YeongHwan from Pattaya

Martin Luther King Stories for Younger Readers, by Younger Readers

Martin Luther King Jr.

By: Ava Hardin

Martin Luther King, Jr.

By: Nick Campbell from Juneau, Alaska


Discussion Questions

1. Martin Luther King Jr. is a hero for many people in the United States and globally. What do you admire about Martin Luther King Jr.?

2. How has Martin Luther King Jr. made a lasting impact that still exists today?

3. Students discuss their civil rights heroes and are encouraged to submit the story of their hero to MY HERO. 


Students analyze artwork inspired by Martin Luther King Jr.

Ben Heine pays homage to the great African-American civil rights heroes Martin Luther King and to US President Barack Obama.

Credit: Ben Heine from Belgium

Martin Luther King, Jr.

By: Robert Shetterly

Portrait of Civil Rights Leader MLK Jr by Robert Shetterly, Americans Who Tell the Truth.org

I have a Dream

By: Rattasart

This painting was inspired by Martin Luther King, Jr. A hand from a black person and a hand from a white person hold the American flag together. The background shows black and white students, studying in the same school.

Martin Luther King Jr.

By: Marilyn Huerta

Marilyn Huerta paints a vivid portrait of Martin Luther King Jr., the civil rights leader and non-violent activist.


By: Traven Sherrod

One of the Great Leaders Pursuing Civil Rights, Martin Luther King Jr pursued equality and liberty for all black people.


Discussion Questions

1. Robert Shetterly and Traven Sherrod included text in their portraits of Martain Luther King Jr. How do these words add to the message of the portraits?

2. Marilyn Huerta uses broad brushstrokes and bright colors in her portrait of Martin Luther King Jr. Consider creating a portrait of your civil rights activist hero in the same style. 

3. Notice the symbolism in Rattasart's painting. Click on the painting to read his explanation of the message he is expressing. 


Related MY HERO Resources

After the assault on the United States Capital on January 6, 2021, it is more important than ever to stand up against unlawfulness, honor those who promote democratic values and learn to tell the difference between credible information and misinformation. Use MY HERO's multimedia resources Promoting Voting Rights and Democracy to honor those who worked to secure voting rights for all and uphold the values of democracy, including those outlined in the US Constitution.


Produced by:Anson Schloat and John G. Young

John Lewis, U.S. Congressman, speaks about the importance of being a good citizen.

The March on Washington D.C. 1963

Devon Johnson

Two very talented Jazz musicians come together to performed a tribute to MLK Jr. and The leadership that march on Washington D.C. in 1963. 

MY HERO Calendars for use in the Classroom

MY HERO's Teachers Calendar Features Lesson Plans and Multimedia Resources

MY HERO Teachers Calendar
Credit: MY HERO

Learn about a New Hero Every Day of the Year: Use the MY HERO Calendar in the Classroom

Credit: MY HERO


Laura Nietzer

The Martin Luther King Jr. lesson plan was curated by MY HERO Education Outreach Director Laura Nietzer.

Students are encouraged to share their Hero Essays, Films and Art through our Create Program

How to use MY HERO's Create Program to Publish Stories, Art, Film and Audio for Students

Tutorial for students: Publish written stories, film, original artwork and audio in MY HERO's multimedia library.

Create Program
Credit: MY HERO

Outstanding essays submitted to MY HERO will be considered for a certificate/t-shirt prize or be featured on the Story Homepage.

Submit your artwork to be entered in the MY HERO art contest or to be exhibited on our Gallery Homepage.

Students can submit their films for free with a waiver to the MY HERO International Film Festival.


Related Links

The official, living memorial dedicated to the advancement of the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The King Center
Credit: The King Center

Organizer created on 1/12/2009 7:16:31 AM by

Last edited 1/2/2024 4:46:37 PM by Laura Nietzer