Speeches of Martin Luther King Jr.: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Claire DeSaussure

Claire has worked in behavioral programs at the Elementary Level and has an MLS with a focus on Creative Writing.

Dr.Martin Luther King was a man of peace. He fought for equality for all people, and was a leader of the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s. His speeches are some of the most famous words ever spoken.

Public Speaking

Have you ever had to make a speech in front of your whole class or at an assembly? It's kind of scary. If you're like me, you feel like you might throw up! It's difficult to have everyone watch you and say something that's important and not make a mistake. But, public speaking is a skill we all need - which is why our teachers make us do it.

There have been a few people in the world who are not only good at writing their speeches, they are good at delivering them. Dr. Martin Luther King was passionate about change. He knew that people of color should have equal rights and he wrote speeches to try to convince the government to change the law. His rhetoric (pronounced ret-or-ik), the way he used his words to persuade people to change, is studied in high schools and colleges. His eloquence (the way in which he spoke his words), is also legendary.

Let's look at three of his most famous speeches, and let's hope that my rhetoric can convince you of his brilliance!

Dr. King Delivered his Speeches With Passion
Dr. Martin Luther King

I Have a Dream

Dr. King spoke on August 28th, 1963, in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. People came to protest that black people were not treated fairly. Dr King 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 color of their skin, but by the content of their character.'

Over 200,000 people heard Dr. King speak that day and even more watched on television. Dr. King had written his speech on paper, but historians say his most famous words, the 'I have a dream' parts were made up or ad libbed on the day. Dr. King was so full of emotion that he spoke from the heart as well as from his notes.

People Gathering to Hear Dr. King Speak in Washington D.C.
I Have a Dream

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