'I have a dream' speech by Martin Luther King
Source: http://www.mlkonline.net - video, audio and text
The 'I have a dream' speech by Martin Luther King is one of the most famous of the twentieth century - its transcript and video footage are available on numerous websites and there is a mass of supporting material.
The speech can be studied at a number of levels and teachers can select whether:
Teachers can focus on how the speech appeals to both a call for action and recognition of the political complexity of social injustice. The dialogue also raises a range of issues connected to extremism:
- to examine its language and rhetorical structure in detail
- to concentrate on its emotional power and impact
- to select some of the key lines and concentrate on its poetry and sound
This resource can be used both as a starting point for teachers to initiate discussion, or for more in depth and successive activities that students can actively participate in. Examples include:
- the power of leaders and how they incite extremism or peaceful protest. Teachers could include discussion of other leaders such as Malcolm X, Ghandi, Nelson Mandela etc.
- how the media represent minority groups and their leaders
- how a speech can impact on an audience
- how a civil rights movement can achieve justice over time
- Students choose six lines from the speech and make them into a poem called 'I have a dream'. (This requires close reading of the whole speech and attempts to capture its underlying message).
- After viewing the speech and discussing it, students act out a role play in pairs where one is a journalist and the other is King, in which they discuss his philosophy of peaceful protest.
- Students use the internet and other sources to research his life and death and write an obituary summing up his achievements.
- Students write (and perform) their own 'I have a Dream' speech about their own wishes for peace and social justice.
- Students select one other key advocate for social justice and prepare a short PowerPoint about his/her contribution to present to the class (e.g. Ghandi, Mandela, Jesse Jackson)
|Links across other subjects within resource
History, Citizenship, Drama, ICT
You Tube www.youtube.com/watch?v=PbUtL_0vAJk (NB when using resources on YouTube, teachers should exercise care and discretion and wherever possible check the accuracy of the material against other sources).