I usually read a picture book, show an excerpt of the actual speech, and have the students complete some activity related to MLK.
Of course, his dream is shared throughout the lessons.
"I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice
I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor's lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.
This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to the South. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring."~Martin Luther King, Jr.
I always end our mini unit with this question,
"If Martin Luther King, Jr. was still alive today, do you believe he would say his dream came true?"
Students must then write a paragraph answering the question with support. The responses are always as diverse as my class. The examples that they provide to support their opinion are sometimes very eye-opening. They become my teachers, allowing me to see the world from the eyes of a child.
As for me, some days I do believe we are close to seeing one man's dream come true, but then some days I feel we still have a long way to go. But, have we made progress? Absolutely.
What about you?
Do you believe that Martin Luther King, Jr.'s dream has come true?