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Activity One: Poetry and Photography Gallery Walk

Drawing by Evan Bissell for Freedom's Ring


  1. Introduce students to Freedom’s Ring: King’s “I Have a Dream” Speech if you have not done so already. Using the index, ask students to choose the theme “Love & Faith.” Within this theme, ask students to explore “A Baptist Preacher” and “Army of Love.” Lead a discussion about the role of love and faith in the African American Freedom Struggle.
  2. Next, ask students to read King's sermons: "Loving Your Enemies" (1957), "A Knock at Midnight" (1962). (Also published in chapter "Love and Faith" in: A Time to Break Silence: The Essential Works of Martin Luther King, Jr., for Students). Ask students to choose three to six sentences that resonate with their life experiences.
  3. Instruct students to break their chosen quote into phrases and then write each phrase on a strip of paper. Their writing should be large enough and clear enough so that it can be viewed from a few feet away. Put all phrases together on a large table.
  4. Ask each student to choose a photo from the African American Freedom Struggle.  Suggested sources for photos are listed in the materials section. Each student will then print or photo copy their photo and write a brief placard. The placard should include the photographer’s name, title of photo, year, and a few sentences to describe the context.
  5. Return to the strips of paper with quotes and ask students to choose four to five phrases to connect with their photo. Students will place their photo, phrases and placards together on a classroom wall. The phrases should be arranged in a way that creates a short poem directly underneath the photo and placard.
  6. Invite students to do a gallery walk and listen to Soundtrack for a Revolution.