Saturday, April 3, 2010

Martin Luther King, Jr. A Dream of Hope

Martin Luther King, Jr.
A Dream of Hope
by Alice Fleming
[Chapter Book]

Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) was born into a large family who resided in Atlanta, Georgia. MLK grew up during a time when things were very segregated: white people were seen as better than black people, and Jim Crow laws kept whites and blacks apart. He became enrolled in Morehouse College at the age of fifteen with no idea as to what he wanted to pursue as a career. After college MLK attended Crozer Theological Seminary, where he graduated as valedictorian and was awarded a scholarship to any graduate school he chose. MLK chose to attend Boston University's School of Theology where he met Coretta Scott, who would become his wife. MLK received his PhD in June of 1955, when his first child was born. When Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a bus, MLK was called on to join a protest against segregation on buses. The Montgomery bus boycott went on for 381 days until they were victorious, and on the morning of December 21, 1956, MLK rode on the first integrated buses. MLK organized and became president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. While MLK was on tour promoting his first book, he was stabbed by a mentally disturbed black woman, but survived the attack. In 1960, the King family moved to Atlanta, Georgia where MLK would become a co-pastor with his father while he led the SCLC. MLK was involved with many other movements, such as the Freedom Riders, The Albany Movement, Project C, and The March on Washington--where he gave what is likely one of the most powerful, famous speeches in history. MLK's speech was entitled "I Have A Dream," which was a line he repeated many times throughout the speech. MLK won the Nobel Peace Prize for his leadership and dedication to the fight for civil rights. On April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot as he walked out onto the balcony of his hotel room in Memphis, Tennessee by a white man named James Earl Ray. His death devestated many, but MLK is remembered as a courageous man and the most prominent figure in the Civil Rights Movement.

This book would be good to incorporate in a social studies lesson about the Civil Rights Movement. While focusing on MLK's life and his impact in the movement, the book provides much factual information on the time period in general. This is a prominent time period in our country's history, and it is important for students to have a solid background in it.

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