resources for children to learn about martin luther king, jr. and civil rights in 2021

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

A commitment to being actively anti-racist begins with education, which is a continual and on-going effort to improve one’s ability to comprehend our world and our role in it. In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., we are sharing a starter list of resources for all ages and all learning styles. We invite you to share these resources. We also invite you to share additional resources with us that should be added to this list; we are fully aware that this list is far from exhaustive and we welcome opportunities to keep learning and to help others to keep learning so that we can all continue building values for life. Email your resource Tiffany Caton, Dir. of Development and Communications, at to have them added to this list.


Do’s and Don’ts of Celebrating MLK Day. Writing in The Washington Post in 1983, Coretta Scott King provided a vision of how the holiday honoring her husband should be observed: “The holiday must be substantive as well as symbolic. It must be more than a day of celebration . . . Let this holiday be a day of reflection, a day of teaching nonviolent philosophy and strategy, a day of getting involved in nonviolent action for social and economic progress.” The list from covers displays, curriculum, and discussions.


Teach MLK in Connection With the Attack on the U.S. Capitol. The same day a Black man and a Jewish man were voted into the U.S. Senate, a mob toting Confederate and Nazi flags attacked the U.S. Capitol. As you teach about Martin Luther King Jr. ahead of his birthday observation, acknowledge the link between the racism he resisted and the violence we witnessed at the Capitol. These resources from will help foster related discussions within the context of U.S. history. Includes links:



Teaching and Learning About Martin Luther King Jr. With The New York Times. How do you celebrate and teach the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., both on the holiday that celebrates his birth, and all year long? A resource list.


Kids’ Books, Podcasts, and Other Resources About Diversity, Race, and Inclusion. It’s never too early for your kids to learn about race, the importance of diversity, and inclusion.


Stanford’s The Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute. A resource list for children in Grades K-12, through the modalities of Art, English Literature, U.S. History, and World History.


Virtual Teacher Workshop: MLK Day of Action. Join the Brooklyn Museum for their annual day of action with a series of professional development workshops for educators in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Attend one session or stay for the whole day to learn tenets of antiracist pedagogy, and see those tenets in action through lectures and workshops exploring how the arts can support cultural equity in the classroom.


Martin Luther King, Jr. and Civil Rights: Relevancy for Today. This curriculum for Grades 3–12 from the Anti-Defamation League provides grade-specific lessons, resources and extension activities to provide your students opportunities to examine civil rights in the United States past and present.


Facing History’s Resource Library. Facing History and Ourselves’s resources address racism, antisemitism, and prejudice at pivotal moments in history, helping teachers and students connect choices made in the past to those they will confront in their own lives. Start here with a curriculum to learn about the context of the civil rights movement in the 1960s and learn about what advocating for civil rights looks like in today’s world.


The Apollo Theater and WYNC present APOLLO UPTOWN HALL: MLK AND THE FIERCE URGENCY OF NOW! in Collaboration with March on Washington Film Festival. WNYC and the Apollo Theater will present the 15th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebration, “MLK and the Fierce Urgency of Now,” as part of the Apollo’s Uptown Hall series, on Monday, January 18 at 3pm. This year’s digital version of the MLK Apollo Uptown Hall will unpack the implications of the 2020 US Presidential Election through the prisms of civil rights and modern day social justice movements. Join WNYC’s co-hosts Brian Lehrer, Jami Floyd and The Takeaway’s Tanzina Vega as we present in-depth interviews and narrative exploration with political leaders, authors, artists, and activists, to examine Dr. Martin Luther King’s civil rights philosophy, tactics, challenges and triumphs within the lens of today’s social and political climate.


The Strategic King: MLK’s Visionary Leadership. WNYC and the Apollo Theater present WNYC’s 14th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebration, “The Strategic King: MLK’s Visionary Leadership,” as part of the Apollo’s Uptown Hall series. This 2020 event, co-hosted by WNYC’s All Things Considered host Jami Floyd and All Of It host Alison Stewart, focuses on Dr. King and his colleagues’ skillful use of the media and politically strategic tactics to influence politicians and helped pass key legislation in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. We’ll consider how those strategies continue to inform and inspire contemporary social justice movements, especially as some of those very protections are under attack today.

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