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Part Two: Role of Youth in the Movement

King escorts children to their newly integrated school, 20 September 1965

King and Andy Young escort children to their newly integrated elementary school in Grenada, Mississippi, 20 September 1965

© Corbis/Bettmann


  1. Read one of the following of King’s works: “The Time for Freedom Has Come,” or “The Burning Truth in the South." Ask students to take notes on the role of youth in the movement.
  2. Return to the Freedom’s Ring: King’s “I Have a Dream” Speech website and ask students to listen to interviews and read entries on the themes of “Tactics of the Movement” and “A People’s Dream.” In particular, students may want to explore the entries titled “Role of Youth,” “Youth Challenge Montgomery,” “Freedom Now!,“Direct Action,” “Dramatize Injustice” and “Fierce Urgency of Now.”
  3. Using Ellen Levine’s Freedom’s Children, provide students with firsthand accounts from youth who participated in the movement.
  4. In a class discussion, compare King’s description of youth in the movement and the young people’s account. Why did they get involved? What did they believe? How did they describe their experiences?