Answers to your Kids’ Questions about Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Q: Who is Martin Luther King Jr.?
A: He is a brave African-American leader who worked hard for Americans to be treated equally. He used peaceful (non-violent) ways to fight for civil rights.
Q: When do we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day?
A: The third Monday in January. It was chosen so the holiday is close to his birthday, which is on January 15.

Q: Why do we celebrate MLK Jr.?
A: He showed courage and leadership get civil rights for all Americans. He wanted to get rid of segregation in the United States. During the late 1800’s to mid 1900’s, black and white Americans were not treated equally. For example, they could not go to same school, use the same water fountains, and bathrooms. He led peaceful marches and gave speeches for civil rights. In 1983, Congress made a national holiday to honor his work.

mlk jr speech

Q: How can we celebrate MLK Jr. Day?

A: People celebrate him by attending special church services, and visiting monuments. They also do volunteer service in the community such as cleaning up litter, planting flowers, and feeding the hungry.
Q: Why is he called Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.? Is he a doctor?
A: Dr. King studied at Boston University and earned a special degree in theology (which means the study of religion and God).

Facts About MLK Jr. Day

- He was born on January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia
- His family called him M.L. as a nickname
- His father was a reverend who taught him about loving others and to stand up for his beliefs.
- Martin Luther King Jr. later became a minister too.
- King learned about non-violence and peaceful ways from his Christian faith and Mahatma Gandhi
- He gave a famous speech called “I Have a Dream.” It talked about his dream of one day living in a country where people will not be judged by their skin color, but by who they are as people.

Martin King Jr. Family

- He was married to Coretta Scott King and they had four children.
- In 1964 U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act making segregation against the law. This meant that everyone has the same rights and freedom in the U.S.A.
- Also in 1964, he was awarded with the Nobel Peace Prize for his bravery fighting for civil rights. He was 35 years old, and the youngest person to receive this recognition.

- Not everyone agreed with Dr. King’s beliefs. They put him in jail, and also tried to hurt his family. On April 4, 1968, Dr. King was killed by a man named James Earl Ray.
- MLK Jr. Day is a federal holiday, so schools, banks and government offices are closed on this day.
- Not only do people in the U.S. celebrate MLK Day, but over 100 countries celebrate and honor him.

Educational Activities for Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Looking for activities to use at home or in the classroom? We have plenty of worksheets that incorporate writing, math and war research to help you weave Veterans Day themes into your curriculum.

- Lapbook - Create a 3-folder lap book with fascinating information about Martin Luther King Jr.
- Fun Fact Cards - These are great to incorporate in bulletin boards, pocket charts, morning meeting, circle time, games.
- Creative Writing Projects - Use these creative writing prompts about Martin Luther King Jr. with your upper elementary students
- No Prep Activities - Here are no-prep activities for Pre-K to 1st grade students.
- Reading and Writing Interactive Journal - Here is a no-prep reading and writing journal for 3rd-5th grade.
- Activities, Craft, and Paper Bag Book - These activities, craft, and paper bag book are perfect to teach about Martin Luther King Jr. to your primary grade students
- Close Reading Flip Flap - Here are close reading activities containing vocabulary, main idea, detail, and comprehension questions.
- Activity Pack - Enjoyable word searches, writing prompts, coloring pages and other activities to do in the classroom or at home.

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Martin Luther King Jr Day - What Kids Need to Know

About the All-Star Blogger
Michele - Work From Home Mommy of 3
Michele is a wife, mommy of 3, and educator. When she’s not homeschooling and chasing a baby around the house, she likes to bake, read, and blog. You can find her blogging adventures at Work From Home Mommy of 3 (