The Dream to Bring Peace to the World
Peace and Martin Luther King
by Hilary Karen
Suitable for Key Stage 2
To consider the meaning of peace, looking at the life of Martin Luther King.
Preparation and materials
You will need a leader and seven readers, who will need time to rehearse prior to the assembly.
Have available some images connected to Martin Luther King and the means to display them during the assembly:
- Martin Luther King as a boy, available at: http://tinyurl.com/gqufwcg
- Martin Luther King and Coretta, available at: http://tinyurl.com/jk2la47
- March on Washington, available at: http://tinyurl.com/h5dbraw
- Martin Luther King making his most famous speech, available at: http://tinyurl.com/hwoteq5
- an extract from the ‘I have a dream’ speech, available at: http://tinyurl.com/grkmtwy
Optional: you may wish to have available the song ‘A change is gonna come’ by Sam Cooke and the means to play it during the assembly. It is 3.10 minutes long and is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wEBlaMOmKV4
Optional: you may wish to have available the YouTube video ‘Tribute to Dr Martin Luther King’ and the means to show it during the assembly. It is 4.51 minutes long and includes pictures of Martin Luther King set to the song ‘Happy birthday’ by Stevie Wonder. You may just wish to show a small section. It is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=anWx36QPmco
Play the song ‘A change is gonna come’ by Sam Cooke.
- Leader: That piece of music was a famous song called ‘A change is gonna come’. It tells of a time in the USA when many people wanted the law changed so that black people would be treated the same as white people. We might find this a difficult thing to understand nowadays, when we know that all people are equally valuable and when we get angry about discrimination of any sort. However, this was a huge problem in the past.
Today, we are going to hear about a special man who had a dream.
Show the image of Martin Luther King as a boy.
Reader 1: This was Martin Luther King as a boy. He was born in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1929. He liked to play baseball and football, and to ride his bike. He played with kites and model planes. There were no white children at Martin’s school because the law in the USA said that white children could not go to the same school as non-white children.
Reader 2: Martin was a very clever boy and he worked really hard at school. He was only 15 years old when he went to college. Martin wanted to be a minister in the church. He wanted to make the lives of black people better because some were treated very badly. He worked hard and learned about people who tried to change things in a peaceful way. He did not want to get angry and fight. He was a brilliant speaker and people listened and were moved by his words.
Show the image of Martin Luther King and Coretta.
Reader 3: In 1952, Martin met a lady called Coretta, who was studying singing at college. They got married and went on to have four children together. Coretta helped Martin with his work.
Show the image of the March on Washington.
Reader 4: Martin organized peaceful marches to help people be kinder and fairer to each other. He wanted people to treat each other well, no matter what they looked like. He wanted people to speak up against unfairness of any kind, but never to be violent against others, even when they faced others who were very violent.
Show the image of Martin Luther King making his most famous speech.
Reader 5: At the March on Washington, in 1963, Martin gave a famous speech where he talked about his dream. Thousands of people listened to him speak and agreed with him.
Show the image of the extract from the ‘I have a dream’ speech.
Reader 6: Martin’s most famous words have been used many times by many people. This is what he said: ‘I have a dream that my four 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.’
Reader 7: Martin changed many people’s minds and new laws were made that were fairer to all people. Sadly, although Martin hated violence, he was shot dead by someone who didn’t agree with him. When he died, people all over the world were very sad.
Martin’s work was so important that, to honour him and remember him, the USA celebrates a special day every year called Martin Luther King Jr Day.
Time for reflection
Leader: Let’s look at that extract about Martin Luther King's dream together.
Read the extract again slowly and thoughtfully.
- What do you think Martin meant by ‘the content of their character’?
- What do you think others would say was the content of your character?
- Would you be pleased to hear what they said about your character?
- Could you try to make peace with someone whom you disagreed with, without getting angry or even violent?
The beginning of the following prayer was written by Martin Luther King.
God, give us strength of body to keep walking for freedom.
God, give us strength to remain nonviolent.
Today, we pray that we have the courage to stand up for what is right, even when others make it difficult for us.
This section of the assembly is optional.
Leader: Stevie Wonder wrote a special song about Martin Luther King, called ‘Happy birthday’. We are going to listen to this on the way out of assembly.
Play the YouTube video ‘Tribute to Dr Martin Luther King’, available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=anWx36QPmco