Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a pastor, a civil rights activist, and a Nobel Peace Prize recipient. In 1986, the third Monday in January became known in the United States as Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a federal holiday. Because of Dr. King’s dedication to human rights and a better society, the holiday has become known as “A day on, not a day off” and people are encouraged to perform acts of service. This is a wonderful time to encourage your children to give back to the community.
In 2008, Martin Luther King Jr. Day falls on January 21.
- Martin Luther King: 1964 Nobel Peace Prize Recipient - A brief biography of Dr. Martin Luther King's path to the Nobel Peace Prize.
- Martin Luther King, Jr. Historic Site - Visit Dr. King's childhood home (and birth place) in Atlanta, GA.
- The King Center - Founded by Dr. King's widow, Coretta Scott King, the King Center strives to continue his work.
- Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” Speech - This is the full text and audio of the famous speech.
Civil Rights MovementUnderstanding the impact of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in American history requires an understanding of the Civil Rights movement. Here are a few sites to get you started.
- Civil Rights Movement Timeline - A great timeline with links to additional information.
- Quiz about MLK and the Civil Rights Movement from the Seattle Times - Test your knowledge of the Civil Rights Movement.
- Voices of Civil Rights - An interactive catalog of personal narratives from those involved in the struggle for civil rights in the United States.
A Day On, Not a Day Off
If your family takes part in charitable activities on a regular basis, Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a great time to talk about why you volunteer, what you get out of it, and other ways you might make an impact. If you haven’t yet introduced your children to acts of service, encourage them to get involved with a fun one day project with a local group. Choose something that will be fun and engaging, while also being meaningful. Kids often enjoy activities that have a positive impact on other kids (toy and clothes drives), or that have visible results (painting, homebuilding, environmental cleanup).
For help in finding just the right service project:
- Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service - This is the best place to find service projects specifically for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
- Idealist - This is a great resource for finding ongoing service projects and volunteer positions in your community.
- Local Volunteer Opportunities for Teens - The About.com Guide to Parenting Teens has some ideas specifically for that age group.
Free Activities, Games, Coloring Pages and Other Fun Stuff
- About.com Homeschooling Printables - Coloring pages, word games and more, designed for families who homeschool, but great for other kids as well.
- Apples 4 the Teacher - Coloring pages, a word search, and a book list.
- Little Bill's "Thank You, Dr. King" Coloring Book - A short printable coloring book from Noggin.