New D.C. Memorial to Honor Dr. King
Arts & Humanities
Ground has been broken on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., for a memorial to honor the life of Martin Luther King Jr.
Before reading, write the name Martin Luther King Jr. on a board or chart. Invite students to share information they know about the man. Write the students facts on the board or chart. Then share with students this weeks News for KIDS story, which shares some new news about Dr. King.
Next, introduce these words that appear in the News Word Box on the students printable page: construction, designed, groundbreaking, despair, monument, and national. Discuss the meanings of any of those words that might be unfamiliar to students. Then ask them to use one of those words to complete each of these sentences:
Our state capital building was _____ by a very famous architect. (designed)
The eagle stands as a symbol of our _____ pride. (national)
When we couldnt find our dog, my mother said, "Dont _____, I know he will find his way home." (despair)
A _____ in the city park honors the lives of soldiers who fought in World War II. (monument)
Do you know when _____ of the new highway bridge is due to begin? (construction)
The mayor gave a long speech at the _____ for a new school. (groundbreaking)
Read the News
Click for a printable version of this weeks news story New D.C. Memorial to Honor Dr. King.
You might use a variety of approaches to reading the news:
Read aloud the news story to students as they follow along.
Students might first read the news story to themselves; then call on individual students to read the news aloud for the class.
Photocopy the news story onto a transparency and project it onto a screen. (Or use your classroom computer's projector to project the story.) Read the story aloud as a class, or ask students to take turns reading it.
Arrange students into small groups. Each student in the group will read a paragraph of the story. As that student reads, others might underline important information or write a note in the margin of the story. After each student finishes reading, others in the group might say something -- a comment, a question, a clarification -- about the text.
More Facts to Share
You might share these additional facts with students after they have read this weeks news story.
The crowd that gathered in Washington for the official announcement of the new memorial (November 13, 2006) included King's children -- Bernice Albertine King, Yolanda Denise King and Martin Luther King III; President George W. Bush; former President Bill Clinton; Oprah Winfrey; Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice; and civil rights leaders such as the Rev. Jesse Jackson and the Rev. Al Sharpton.
In his remarks at the groundbreaking, President Bush said, "'Honoring Dr. King's legacy requires more than building a monument. It requires the ongoing commitment of every American. So we will continue to work for the day when the dignity and humanity of every person is respected and the American promise is denied to no one."
Bush pointed out that the King Memorial would be situated on a 4-acre site at the northeast corner of the Tidal Basin. It will be between the monuments for Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln. "By its presence in this place, it will unite the men who declared the promise of America and defended the promise of America with the man who redeemed the promise of America," Bush said.
Former President Bill Clinton, who in 1996 signed legislation that initiated the project, said, "The monument, however beautiful it turns out to be, will be but a physical manifestation of the monument constructed in the minds and hearts of millions of Americans, who are more just, more decent, more successful, more perfect because he lived."
"I am who I am because of the struggles of Dr. King, because of his leadership, because of his belief in hope for this country," said Oprah Winfrey at the groundbreaking. "My life is what it is because of his work."
Dr. Kings son, Martin Luther King III, also spoke. After the groundbreaking, he told ABC News that "the hope is that young people will come here from all over the world and be inspired to go out and make a difference in our nation and world."
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is remembered as a great orator. His eloquent and inspirational speeches, sermons, and public addresses included countless references to the themes of democracy, justice, and equality. The words of Dr. King will be engraved throughout the memorial. For example, at the memorial entry two stones are parted and a single stone is pushed back in the horizon. On one entry stone the theme of hope will be expressed in Kings words, "With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope." On the other stone these words will be inscribed: "Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream." The single "Stone of Hope" will be engraved with these words: "When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the 'unalienable Rights of Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness'..."
The memorial will include 24 niches along its upper walkway. Each niche will commemorate the contribution of a different individual who gave his or her life to the civil rights movement -- from Medgar Evers to four children murdered by a bomb blast at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham. In deference to the unfinished nature of the movement, a random number of niches will be left open and incomplete, allowing additional niches to be dedicated at a later point in time.
The ROMA Design Group of San Francisco designed the new memorial.
Recalling Detail Where is the new memorial to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. being built? (on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.)
Why is this memorial a very special one? (Students responses may vary. They might say that King was an important person in U.S. history, the memorial is the first to honor an African American, it is being built near the spot where King gave his most famous speech Accept reasoned responses.)
How are stones being worked into the design of the memorial? (Two stones near the entry of the memorial symbolize "the mountain of despair" that King referred to in one of his speeches; a third stone symbolizes "the stone of hope.")
Why was January 15 chosen to be the date on which we celebrate Dr. Kings life each year? (That was the date on which he was born.)
How much money will it cost to build the new memorial? ($100 million)
When is the new memorial due to be completed? (in 2008, which will be the 40th anniversary of Kings death)
Think About the News Discuss the Think About the News question that appears on the students news page.
Dr. King once said that sometimes you must pass through despair, or sadness, before you find hope. What did he mean by that? What kinds of sadness do you think Dr. King passed through during his life? Can you share a time in your life when you had to "pass through despair to find hope"?
Citizenship. Cities, towns, and states often recognize important people in their history by building memorials or monuments to them. Other times, buildings are named for important people. Invite students to share their awareness of any monuments or buildings in their town, city, or state that honor people in their history. Who do those monuments honor? Why might those people have deserved monuments? Perhaps students can suggest others for whom it might be appropriate to construct some kind of memorial.
History. If you teach older students, share this fact about the King Memorial design:
The memorial will include 24 niches along its upper walkway. Each niche will commemorate the contribution of a different individual who gave his or her life to the civil rights movement -- from Medgar Evers to four children murdered by a bomb blast at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham.
Have students work in small groups or teams to research famous figures in the civil rights movement. Who are some of the people they believe should be represented in the 24 niches that will be part of the design of the King Memorial.
Language. Write on a board or chart the 12 words below that are taken from this weeks News for KIDS article. Have students identify for each word 1) the number of syllables in it and 2) its root word: memorial (4 syllables, the root word is memory); built (1 syllable, the root word is build); construction (3 syllables, the root word is construct); National (3 syllables, the root word is nation); designed (2 syllables, the root word is design); visitors (3 syllables, the root word is visit or visitor); inspired (2 syllables, the root word is inspire); believed (2 syllables, the root word is believe); fairly (2 syllables, the root word is fair); sadness (2 syllables, the root word is sad); honoring (3 syllables, the root word is honor); completed (3 syllables, the root word is complete).
Use the Comprehension Check (above) as an assessment. Or have students work on their own (in their journals) or in their small groups to respond to the Think About the News question on the news story page or in the Comprehension Check section.
Lesson Plan Source
FINE ARTS: Visual Arts
GRADES K - 4
NA-VA.K-4.3 Choosing and Evaluating A Range of Subject Matter, Symbols, and Ideas
NA-VA.K-4.4 Understanding the Visual Arts In Relation to History and Cultures
GRADES 5 - 8
NA-VA.5-8.3 Choosing and Evaluating A Range of Subject Matter, Symbols, and Ideas
NA-VA.5-8.4 Understanding the Visual Arts In Relation to History and Cultures
GRADES 9 - 12
NA-VA.9-12.3 Choosing and Evaluating A Range of Subject Matter, Symbols, and Ideas
NA-VA.9-12.4 Understanding the Visual Arts In Relation to History and Cultures
LANGUAGE ARTS: English
GRADES K - 12
NL-ENG.K-12.1 Reading for Perspective
NL-ENG.K-12.2 Reading for Understanding
NL-ENG.K-12.8 Developing Research Skills
NL-ENG.K-12.9 Multicultural Understanding
NL-ENG.K-12.11 Participating in Society
NL-ENG.K-12.12 Applying Language Skills
SOCIAL SCIENCES: Civics
GRADES K - 4
NSS-C.K-4.2 Values and Principles of Democracy
NSS-C.K-4.5 Roles of the Citizen
GRADES 5 - 8
NSS-C.5-8.2 Foundations of the American Political System
NSS-C.5-8.5 Roles of the Citizen
GRADES 9 - 12
NSS-C.9-12.2 Foundations of the Political System
NSS-C.9-12.5 Roles of the Citizen
SOCIAL SCIENCES: U.S. History
GRADES K - 4
NSS-USH.K-4.3 The History of the United States: Democratic Principles and Values and the People from Many Cultures Who Contributed to Its Cultural, Economic, and Political Heritage
GRADES 5 - 12
NSS-USH.5-12.9 Era 9: Postwar United States (1945 to early 1970s)
NSS-USH.5-12.10 Era 10: Contemporary United States (1968 to the Present)
See recent news stories in Education Worlds News Story of the Week Archive.
Article by Ellen Delisio and Gary Hopkins
Copyright © 2006 Education World