Martin Luther King, Jr. and Civil Rights: Relevancy for Today


In commemoration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, this curriculum for grades 3–12 provides grade-specific lessons, resources and extension activities to provide your students opportunities to examine civil rights in the United States past and present.

The lessons provide an opportunity for students to delve deeper into Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic “I Have a Dream Speech”. All students will explore tone, audience, use of metaphor and highlights of this important speech. Older students will discover more about the civil rights movement and specifically about the struggle for voting rights over the years, including an analysis of voter suppression laws and the Supreme Court ruling in Shelby County v. Holder that struck down key provisions of the Voting Rights Act.

Students will have the opportunity to discuss and investigate additional civil rights issues currently in the news in order to consider how far we have come and how far we still need to go in order to achieve equality and full civil rights in the United States. Using the symbol of the dream in King’s speech, students will reflect on their own dreams for fairness, justice and civil rights.

This resource includes three comprehensive, downloadable lesson plans for elementary school, middle school, and high school:

  • Elementary School: Our Dreams for Equality
  • Middle School: The Struggle for Voting Rights
  • High School: From I Have a Dream to Dreams United

Also includes standards alignment to meet Common Core Standards.



  • After School and Beyond
  • Congregational Learning
  • Teen Engagement
  • Day Schools and Yeshivas
  • Camp