We've identified these texts as great options for text pairings based on similar themes, literary devices, topic, or writing style. Supplement your lesson with one or more of these options and challenge students to compare and contrast the texts. To assign a paired text, click on the text to go to its page and click the "Assign Text" button there.
We Shall Overcome Speech
- President Lyndon B. Johnson
This rousing speech by President Lyndon B. Johnson was delivered right after civil rights protesters were brutally beaten on “Bloody Sunday.” This speech is considered one of the best presidential speeches in history, and eventually led to The Voting Rights Act of 1965.Pair “We Shall Overcome Speech” with “Martin Luther King, Jr.” to provide students with additional information regarding the struggle in Selma, Alabama known as “Bloody Sunday.” How do the details provided in “We shall Overcome Speech” influence students’ opinions on the Civil Rights Movement and those who fought for equal rights?
The Voting Rights Act of 1965
- Jessica McBirney
The impetus for and impact of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 are discussed in this informational text.Pair “The Voting Rights Act of 1965” with “Martin Luther King, Jr.” in order to have students more deeply explore King’s role in the passing of that legislation and the impact that the law has had on the United States.
The Sit-In Movement
This informational text discusses the different forms of peaceful protests that civil rights activists employed during their struggle for equality.Pair “The Sit-In Movement” with “Martin Luther King, Jr.” to provide students with additional information regarding the nonviolent protests that King encouraged. How do the various forms of nonviolent protests depicted in the two texts compare? Do you think some forms of nonviolent protest are more effective than others?
RFK’s Speech Following the Death of MLK
- Senator Robert F. Kennedy
“RFK’s Speech Following the Death of MLK” is a speech that encourages the nation to unite and heal following Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination using strong rhetorical techniques.Pair “RFK’s Speech Following the Death of MLK” with “Martin Luther King, Jr.” to provide students with additional information regarding King’s death. How did the nation respond to this tragedy? Which values that King preached remained strong after his death?
I Have a Dream
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
In Martin Luther King, Jr.’s iconic speech “I Have a Dream,” he discusses the state of racism throughout the nation and his hopes for freedom and equality in America.Pair “Martin Luther King, Jr.” with “I Have a Dream” and ask students to further discuss the life and contributions of King. How did King contribute to the Civil Rights Movement prior to his “I Have a Dream” speech? How did his accomplishments continue to live on following his death?
The Civil Rights Act of 1964
- National Park Service
This informational text discusses the events that led up to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.Pair “Martin Luther King, Jr.” with “The Civil Rights Act of 1964” and ask students to discuss how King contributed to the passing of this influential law. In what other ways did King contribute to the Civil Rights Movement?
- Nikki Grimes
In Nikki Grimes’ poem “Truth,” a speaker compares the possibilities of a new day to a storm.Pair “Martin Luther King, Jr.” with “Truth” and ask students to discuss how the two texts contribute to their understanding of how hopeful leaders encourage action. How does the message of Nikki Grimes’s poem compare to Martin Luther King’s message during the Civil Rights movement? How do both texts convey similar attitudes present during the Civil Rights movement?
- Barrett Smith
In the informational text “Malcolm X,” Barrett Smith discusses the life and contributions of the civil rights activist.Pair “Martin Luther King, Jr.” with “Malcolm X” to provide students with additional information about a fellow civil rights leader. Ask students to discuss how the goals and processes of these two activists compare. What did Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X have in common? Why do you think some people felt compelled to follow Malcolm over MLK?