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Learning and Living the Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Lesson plans, activity ideas & other resources for teaching MLK Day
Martin Luther King Jr memorial in Washington DC Christian Lopez
Published: December 16, 2020 Last Updated: December 13, 2023

School is a place where childhood happens. A place where children of different places and races learn from the past, make sense of the present, and prepare for the future. Yet, for too long, Black and brown people in America have been denied equality because of the color of their skin. Help students learn about one legendary activist in the struggle against racial injustice, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The lessons and activities below will help students put in perspective Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life, his impact on the Civil Rights Movement, and his significance to American culture and history.

More Resources for Racial Justice

Whatever our color, background, or zip code, we want our children to have an education that imparts honesty about who we are, integrity in how we treat others, and freedom to pursue our dreams. For years, certain politicians have denied some children the resources needed for a quality education based on what they look like or where they live. Review and share the resources below to share the truth of our history, so we can learn from the mistakes of our past and honor leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr. who stood up to racism and changed our country for the better.
teach the truth

Pledge to Support Honesty in Education

No matter our color, background, or zip code, we want our kids to have an education that imparts honesty about who we are, integrity in how we treat others, and courage to do what’s right. 
student diversity

Sample School Board Resolution: Spark Curiosity & Critical Thinking To Prepare All Students To Thrive

NEA has developed  a sample resolution  and  guidance  for community engagement that can be used as a template for local school districts to create their own school board resolution. The model resolution contains a commitment to affirming inclusion of all students, respect for educators as professionals, and support for a proven, research-based,  culturally-responsive education.
ethnic studies now sign

What the Research Says About Ethnic Studies

Interdisciplinary ethnic studies help foster cross-cultural understanding among students of color and white students, and aids students in valuing their own cultural identity while appreciating the differences around them.

“We will continue to lift up our voices. We will continue to march and rally, so that we can continue to do the unfinished work of this nation because we all believe in those ideals that we have never quite realized.”

Becky Pringle, NEA President

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Great teaching, more learning

We are dedicated to to helping educators achieve and sustain new norms of excellence at every phase of their career. The professional growth of our members is our priority.
National Education Association

Great public schools for every student

The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.