Hey Educators: What do you have planned for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day?

What do you have planned for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day?

A new trove of fresh material on Jews and the Civil Rights Movement is now available online, featuring compelling stories of women and men fighting for social justice. Designed for teens, Living the Legacy offers the opportunity for young people to explore their own identities and social justice commitments and to draw connections between a history of American Jewish activism and their own lives.

Today’s  students can see “themselves” in a photograph of teens marching with a Jewish youth group banner at the 1963 March on Washington, where those teens heard first-hand Martin Luther King, Jr.’s riveting “I Have a Dream…” speech.

They can watch a video of the Freedom Seder that commemorated the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. or read the letters student activists wrote home to their families and the first person accounts of what it felt like to be jailed for being a Freedom Rider.

In addition to containing over 85 rich primary source documents like these and 15 traditional Jewish texts, Living the Legacy is a full curriculum with 16 ready-to-use lesson plans designed to be used by educators working with 8th-12th graders in both formal and informal educational settings. The flexible lessons can stand alone or be taught in various combinations, such as the trio of lessons suggested for MLK programming in the month of January.

A free gender-inclusive curriculum created by the Jewish Women’s Archive, Living the Legacy (LTL) is available in its entirety on our website. For educators working with adults and younger students, the LTL online interface makes it easy to view the primary source documents by keyword or type, separate from the lesson plans. The traditional Jewish texts — chosen by Rabbi Jill Jacobs and JWA’s Judith Rosenbaum — are each linked to from a variety of lesson plans and paired with accompanying questions that can be applied in a range of social justice education contexts.

For more information about the curriculum or about JWA’s 2011 Institute for Educators, please contact education@jwa.org or (617) 383-6762.

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