"I have a dream that my four little 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."


print-and-play valentine's games
MLK Day Discussion Topics For the Very Young
Purchase several dolls (Min.2--these can be inexpensive rag dolls) or ask children to bring the dolls. (Can also work with pictures, but dolls give a feeling of realness and hold kids attention much better!) One doll should be Afro-American and the other(s) other races--the more the better. Have the children point out all of the things the dolls have in common (sameness). Then have them point out all of the things that the dolls do not have in common (differences). Be sure to point out that all dolls have the same feelings-- "Do all of these "kids" feel sad sometimes?" "If this one fell down and scraped her knee, and this one did, too, would they both feel pain?" Ask children to name friends that have something in common with one of the dolls, then another doll, and so on. It's a great activity to bring up the discussion of diversity with young children.

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MLK Day Discussion Topics for Older Children and Adults

  1. Today, more than thirty years after his death, many Americans still have strong beliefs and/or feelings about Dr. King. Do you believe he made a positive contribution to American society as a whole? Why or Why not? With which of his teachings do you agree? Why? With which do you disagree? Why?

  2. Have you ever seen someone discriminated against (or treated differently) because of some physical, mental, or religious difference? If so, tell about it and tell how you responded. How do you think people should respond when they see others being discriminated against? Why do you think some people choose not to take a stand against discrimination?

  3. Should the birthday of any one individual be a national holiday? Why or why not? What are the benefits of holding certain people up as national heroes and role models for today's youth? What are the potential dangers?

  4. In your opinion, what three people have had the greatest impact on American society? Defend your answer.

  5. If you are from a country other than the United States, tell about one person who has had a significant impact on your country. Does your country have special holidays to honor any of its national heroes? Do you believe that this practice is good? Why or why not?

  6. Examine the definitions of "prejudice" and "discrimination." How are they similiar? How are they different? Is prejudice ever appropriate? What about discrimination? Explain your reasoning.

  7. Dr. King expressed sadness that African-Americans were pre-judged on the basis of their skin color. Do you believe that people are still discriminated against today on the basis of their skin color? If so, offer examples. What are some other characteristics that might cause a person to be discriminated against? Give examples of this discrimination.

  8. Dr King once remarked, "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction." Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Why? Give an example of light "driving out" darkness. How could love "drive out" hate? Have you ever seen this happen? If so, relate the experience.

  9. Dr King also stated that, "Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. Hate destroys a man's sense of values and his objectivity. It causes him to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful, and to confuse the true with the false and the false with the true."  Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Why? Is hate ever justified? Why or why not? List as many dangers of hatred as you can think of.

  10. In the same speech, Dr. King said, "The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool. If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority." How does the church function as the conscience of the state? What are the dangers of the church's becoming the master of the state? What happens to society when the church becomes the servant of the state? State historical examples of the church's being both the master and the servant of the state.

  11. Another statement Dr. King made during that speech was "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Why is injustice a threat to justice? What examples can you give of injustice in your society? How can you combat these?

  12. In another speech, Dr. King insisted, "If a man hasn't discovered something that he will die for, he isn't fit to live." What do you think he meant by this statement? Do you agree or disagree? Defend your answer. If you agree, what kinds of causes would you be willing to die for? Why?

  13. In a speech made just hours before his assassination, Dr. King  remarked that although he would enjoy living a long life just as anyone would, the length of his life was not his primary concern. He expressed his whole-hearted belief that he was doing God's will and insisted that he had no fear of death or of any man. Have you ever encountered people who have no fear of death? What reasons did they give for their absence of fear? Why do you think some people fear death so greatly when it is a natural part of life?

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