Dr. King Holiday and Inauguration Day

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Dr. Martin Luther King Day and the Presidential Inauguration



MLK Education

This is a busy time for social science teachers. The events of January 6th, a national holiday celebrating a Dr. King, and the Presidential Inauguration provide plenty of content, but with the end of the semester approaching, it is a lot to try to get in.

It is always good to remind students why they have the day off of school on the third Monday of January. However, MLK, Civil Rights, and non-Violence need not be limited to a day in January or Black History Month in February. Below are a few links to contextualize the holiday for students of all levels no matter when the topic is ready for your classroom.

This 56th Presidential Inauguration in Washington D.C. (Washington's was in New York and Adams' was in Philadelphia) will be a unique event. The crowd precautions for the continuing Covid-19 pandemic and the presence of 25,000 National Guard troops in response to security concerns will become part of the history of this event. Some teachers may choose to watch the event live, while others are cautious about streaming unfiltered events. Included below are links to resources about inaugurations and the transfer of power from one U.S. President to the next.


Bonus links to speeches worthy of student reflection:

It is difficult to select just one of Dr. King's speeches and students have likely seen at least parts of "I Have A Dream", but it is always worth an additional viewing.

The march from Selma to Montgomery is most recently remembered for the heroism of John Lewis on Bloody Sunday and the decision of Dr. King on Turn-around-Tuesday. When the march eventually reached Montgomery, King's "How Long? Not Long" invoked the arc of the moral universe.

April 3rd, 1968's "Mountaintop" speech contains perhaps the most prescient conclusion of any pubic address. Students will need the context to appreciate its full impact. For a short and dramatic audio recording of an excerpt from the speech, Dr. King's "If I Had Sneezed" provides a review of the highlights of the Civil Rights Movement. 

Historically, inaugural speeches are often filled with hope and promises of what the United States can become. These excerpts provide good examples for discussion.

Lincoln's Second Inaugural from Facing History has both the very brief text and an audio recording (Note: This is not the voice of Abraham Lincoln). The Atlantic's "What Lincoln's Second Inaugural Meant" offers historical background.


Happy New Year,

Amit Kobrowski

I have dream

A Selection of MLK Resources K-8

Read Along Books for K-3

Dr. King: I Have a Dream

David Adler: Martin Luther King Picture Book

Brad Meltzer I am Martin Luther King Jr.

Carole Boston Weatherford: Be a King

Sarah Lynne Reul: The Breaking News

Rob Sanders: Peaceful Fights for Civil Rights


National Council for Social Studies Resources.  All Levels

Lessons and Resources Grade 4-8

We Are Teachers: Ways to encourage reflection on MLK’s life and legacy.

Teaching Tolerance: Teaching About King’s Radical Approach to Social Justice

Students in grades 6-8 create found poems based on MLK’s 1968 obituary published in The New York Times.

Scholastic: Students in grades 6-8 use an excerpt from MLK’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” as a model to write a persuasive argument.

Edsitement: Students in grades 6-8 investigate Martin Luther King, Jr.'s philosophy of nonviolence and the teachings of Mohandas K. Gandhi that influenced King's views.

MLK Day of Service and Events in Oregon 



Washington Inaugural

Inauguration Resources Grades 3-HS

iCivics: Inauguration and the first 100 days

Presidential Inaugurations: I Do Solemnly Swear   Students in grades 3-5 discover how the Presidential Inauguration has changed over time and presents historical figures with archival materials.

The Inauguration of George WashingtonStudents analyze George Washington's diary entry for April 16, 1789, the day he left Mount Vernon for his inauguration in New York City. Grades 6-8

Inaugural QuizTest your knowledge of past presidential inaugurations with this 10-question online quiz. Grades 6-12

7 Ideas for Teaching About the Presidential InaugurationSome teaching ideas for watching, discussing and analyzing the Presidential inauguration. Grades 6-12

“I Do Solemnly Swear…”A special online Library of Congress presentation with more than forty photographs, manuscripts, campaign posters, letters, broadsides, and inaugural speeches representing eighteen presidents. Grades K-12

“I Do Solemnly Swear...” Presidential InaugurationsThis collection of 400 items at the Library of Congress includes diaries and letters of presidents and of those who witnessed inaugurations, handwritten drafts of inaugural addresses, broadsides, inaugural tickets and programs, prints, photographs, and sheet music. These items are related to inaugurations from George Washington's first in 1789 to Barack Obama's first inauguration in 2009. Grades K-12

Inaugural Addresses of the Presidents of the United StatesFind complete text of all 56 presidential addresses from all 44 Presidents. Grades 9-12

Historical Inauguration Speeches – YouTubeWatch videos of 12 speeches from 1933 (FDR) to 2013 (Barack Obama). Grades 9-12

Inaugural Addresses: Comparing and Contrasting Inaugural Addresses Students compare the priorities, goals, and intentions in four inaugural addresses. Grades 9-12

book review

Wanted: K-5 Book Reviewers

With the adoption of SB664, Holocaust and Genocide Education should now be incorporated into K-12 classrooms. Although this is clearly difficult subject matter to discuss in any classroom, K-5 teachers often find it particularly challenging to introduce the themes of Holocaust and other genocides studies to young children. 

The Oregon Department of Education, in partnership with the Oregon Jewish Museum and the Multnomah County Library, is creating a curated list of book titles for use in elementary classrooms. You are invited to participate in this project by selecting one of the book titles from the curated list and submitting a brief review for publication in the Social Science and English Language Arts Updates. 

Please contact Amit Kobrowski or Tina Roberts if you have any questions.