Letter from Birmingham Jail, Dr. Martin Luther King
Lesson Plans and other teaching resources

A Letter Read 'Round the World
Students analyze King's letter to recognize the persuasive potential of literary techniques and logic employed by King and to understand the rationale for using demonstrations to advance civil rights. In addition, students use a primary document to examine civil disobedience and a protester who, like Thoreau, was jailed for his actions.

Every Punctuation Mark Matters: A Minilesson on Semicolons
In this minilesson, students first explore Dr. King's use of semicolons and their rhetorical significance. They then apply what they have learned by searching for ways to follow Dr. King's model and use the punctuation mark in their own writing.

Letter from Birmingham Jail
Text of the letter.

Lesson Plan: King's Letter from Birmingham Jail
Students analyze the effectiveness of nonviolence as an instrument to change unjust laws by studying the Birmingham Campaign of 1963.

Letter from Birmingham Jail
A color-coded rhetorical analysis. Access requires MS-Word or compatible application.

Middle School ELA Curriculum Video: Close Reading of a Text: MLK "Letter from Birmingham Jail"
This is a 15-minute (downloadable) video in which David Coleman, a contributing author to the Common Core State Standards, models a close reading.

Vocabulary drawn from Letter from Birmingham Jail
A list of 96 words presented in context and with defintions. Click on the word for pronunciation, examples of recent use, more.

Related Resources

In King's Words: Examining the writings of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Context and Texture
Students "students will explore the value of writings by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and create mixed media collages contextualizing one of his texts or speeches."

Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Civil Rights Movement
This extensive collection of articles and photographs from the Seattle Times includes texts of speeches and some brief audio files. It also offers more recent perspectives on the impact of the Civil Rights Movement.

Martin Luther King, Jr.: Words that changed a nation
This site explores Dr. King's writing in the context of the times.



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