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A Man to Remember: Commemorating Martin Luther King, Jr.

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January 15, 2017 marks the 88th anniversary of the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Analyzing primary sources from the online collections of the Library of Congress provides an opportunity to deepen the study of King’s life and legacy and to help students become more connected with the issues and events that shaped his life. They might also consider the different ways in which Dr. King and the movement he led have been remembered and commemorated in the years since his death.

Teaching with the Library of Congress has published a number of posts on Dr. King and the African American civil rights movement of the mid-twentieth century.

For Martin Luther King, Jr. Day: Exploring Photographs of Civil Rights Movement Leaders

Explore images of noted participants in the freedom movements of the 20th century and use the primary source analysis tool to record observations, reflections, and questions about the images and the people in them.KingMural_crop3

Honoring Our History through Artwork: Martin Luther King, Jr. in Library of Congress Primary Sources

Consider the role of memorials in commemorating a life and see how one memorial documents the life of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Looking Behind the March on Washington: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Civil Rights Movement, and Labor in Primary Sources

Study the March on Washington using some of the documents created for the day. Consider the role King played and the impact of his participation.

Want to see other images? Visit the online exhibition “A Day Like No Other: Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington.”

Here are some additional resources from around the Library that may be of interest.

  • Martin Luther King's study, Dexter Parsonage Museum, Montgomery, Alabama. Carol Highsmith, 2010
    Martin Luther King’s study, Dexter Parsonage Museum, Montgomery, Alabama. Carol Highsmith, 2010

    The In Custodia Legis blog from the Law Library of Congress provides background information on the legislation enacted to celebrate the King Holiday.

  • Watch an interview with Dr. King from 1957 discussing the use of non-violence during the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
  • Folklife Today, the American Folklife Center’s blog, has a post documenting King’s impact on folklore as well as a link to the Civil Rights Oral History project. One of the interviews features a person who was at the March on Washington reflecting on King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
  • Noted photographer Carol Highsmith has taken images of King’s study at his home and of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. What do these images tell you about King and his life?
  • Today in History documents the birthday of Martin Luther King with a brief biography and links to select resources.

How will you and your students commemorate the life of Martin Luther King, Jr.? Let us know in the comments.



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