We began the lesson by being introduced to our new topic: Inspiring change—Martin Luther King. We discussed how MLK came to England in 1967 to receive an honorary degree from Newcastle University. We learned that MLK was a Christian leader who thought that because we were all made the same by God, then racism, poverty and war were wrong. But this made him disliked by many people in America, and so he came to England to get some encouragement and inspiration.
We then looked at the background to the problem: slavery in the USA. Black slaves were brought from Africa and sold to property-owners in the USA to work as free labour. They were owned and could be bought and sold, and were often subject to violence and abuse. Even after slavery was abolished in 1865, African Americans were victims of discrimination. Martin Luther King Jr. was a minister in the Baptist Church who became a leader of the ‘civil rights movement’ – the campaign to end discrimination. He gave a famous speech in which he said, ‘I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character.” The children were then given their main activity for the lesson. The children worked in pairs to research the life of MLK and presented their findings. They incorporated a range of media including videos, photos ands audio clips.