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With The Appropriate Background Knowledge, This Could Be A Good MLK Writing Prompt

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Vox has just published a short and useful critique of this week’s New Yorker cover suggesting that it communicates that Martin Luther King, Jr.’s main message was reconciliation when, in fact, it was confrontation to achieve justice.

If students had sufficient background knowledge (which, if truth be told, we should all have talked about in our classes already) — Ferguson, Eric Garner, the shooting of the two New York City police officers, Trayvon Martin (you can also find good related teaching materials at A Collection Of Useful Posts, Articles & Videos On Race & Racism) — they could read Vox’s short post, view the New Yorker cover, and respond to a writing prompt like this:

The author writes that Martin Luther King’s main message was that confrontational protest was necessary to achieve justice. To what extent do you agree that often it takes conflict to overcome unfairness and inequality? To support your opinion, be sure to include specific examples drawn from your own experience, your observations of others, or any of your readings (including this article).

I have also previously shared two writing prompts on similar topics:

John Lewis: “You Must Find A Way To Get In Trouble”

Quote Of The Day: “We Must Always Take Sides”

I’m adding this post to The Best Posts On Writing Instruction (where I collect all my writing prompts) and to The Best Websites For Learning About Martin Luther King.

Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

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