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Dr. King's Speech: A Culture and Change Activity

Students learn about the speech Martin Luther King Jr. gave in 1955 at the time of the Montgomery Bus boycott.



Activity Type

  • Activities and Games

As part of the Rosa Parks activity, Dr. King’s Speech(grades 7–8) shares the story of Dr. Martin Luther King’s landmark speech in 1955, calling for the city bus boycott of Montgomery, AL, to continue.

“There comes a time," he said, following the arrest of Rosa Parks and the subsequent boycott, "that people get tired. We are here this evening to say to those who have mistreated us for so long, that we are tired, tired of being segregated and humiliated, tired of being kicked about by the brutal feet of oppression."

Students can read those famous words in this activity, which captures the emotion in the church that night. Students also learn how Dr. King preached fighting without violence and how the speech focused the church-goers’ fight into three simple demands.



Learning Objectives

  • Learn about individual people who shaped history by reading their biographies and researching the age in which they lived
  • Understand the causes and effects of the civil rights movement in America
  • Build nonfiction literacy skills as they read Web-based articles for details and use a timeline to obtain information
  • Apply critical thinking skills to answer questions regarding controversial events related to the civil rights movement
  • Hone writing skills through brief essay submissions or grade-appropriate research papers

Susan Cheyney

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