Against Racial Segregation: Martin Luther King

Task: Who was Martin Luther King, what do you know already?

Task: Match the key word to the definitions…

ImmigrantIt was a movement in the US that fought for the rights of African Americans
RefugeeIs a person who has fled their home country and now legally resides in another
Civil Rights MovementIs a person who comes to a country where they were not born in order to settle
SegregationKeeping people separate from one another bases on skin colour or race

Martin Luther King Jr. was an American civil rights leader, who dedicated his life to the equal rights of African Americans. 

He was born in 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia. Martin and his father had the same name, Martin Luther King. They were named after Martin Luther, a German priest who established the Protestant Church. Martin’s father was a preacher in a local church and Martin wanted to become a preacher as well. 

He was a very clever kid at school, he even skipped two grades in high school. When he was only 15 years old, he went to Morehouse College to study sociology. After he graduated from college, he earned a master’s degree in divinity and theology (these are kinds of religious studies). He finished his doctoral study in theology when he was 25. In 1954, he became a pastor of a Baptist church in Montgomery, Alabama. 

During this time, African American people in the United States did not have the same rights as white people. This discrimination was the strongest in the southern states. Black people and white people couldn’t go to the same schools, sit next to each other in buses, or drink from the same water fountains. Many businesses refused to hire people just because of the colour of their skin. 

Task: Having read the information, are the following statements true or false?

  • Martin Luther King was born in Alabama? 
  • King founded the Protestant Church? 
  • King was named after a German priest? 
  • King was an excellent student?
  • He studied law and wanted to become a lawyer?
  • During his childhood, black people in the United States were discriminated against?
  • He grew up in a time where many businesses didn’t want to hire black people?

Task: Watch the video.

Task: Complete the blanks.

Martin’s father was a _____________ in a __________________ . When Martin was____________ , he started a degree in _____________ at Morehouse College.  In 1954, he started working as a ______________ at a __________________ in Montgomery. During the time of King, black people in the United States didn’t have the same ____________ as _________________ . 

In 1963, King helped to organize the “March on Washington.” This was a demonstration to show the importance of establishing civil rights laws. More than 250,000 attended the famous march. The people were protesting against discrimination, police abuse, and other issues. 

During this march, King gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. It has become one of the most memorable speeches in history. The rally was a tremendous success. One year later, in 1964, the government passed the Civil Rights Act. This act made it illegal to discriminate based on race, color, religion, or gender. You can watch the speech here.

King was very famous, but he wasn’t loved by everyone. In 1968, King was in Memphis, Tennessee to lead a protest. He was assassinated, while standing on the balcony of his hotel.

Task: Should Martin Luther King be considered an inspirational person?

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