WritersCorps teachers often honor the work and memory of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. by asking students to write poems about the principles of civil rights and freedom. The subject matter is rich with possibilities. Here is an opportunity for teachers to talk not only about Martin Luther King Jr. on the day honoring him every January, but also about the civil rights movement, race relations, the qualities of a leader, heroes, and so on.
1. Bring in photographs from the days of segregation, such as of a water fountain with a “whites only” sign.
2. Ask students to imagine living in a world with that kind of overt racism and then write about how times have changed or not changed since Martin Luther King Jr.’s death.
Adapted from the WritersCorps publication “Jump Write In!“