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House on Mango Street

Additional Projects/Activities I   

(All materials named are included at end of this packet.)

These projects are intended to build upon whatever understanding students may get from the main unit.  Among other things, I hope they will expand the media literacy that may have come from looking at how King has been packaged for the public, and lead students to consider other areas where our perception is sharply limited by the information usually available.

  1. (Adapted from Rethinking Schools, December 2001) After reviewing King’s statements about the War in Vietnam in the handout “Beyond I Have a Dream” (pp. 2-5), respond to any or all of the following assignments below:

    a. Do you think Dr. King would support U.S. policies today? What evidence from his speech supports your conclusion? What policies would he urge?

    b. Write a speech that Martin Luther King might deliver today if he were alive. It should cover the events of September 11, “terrorism” of all kinds, the war in Afghanistan, and the threat of (as of 1/7/ 2002) war in Iraq, but can cover other topics as well.

    c. King talks about the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism. In what ways are these giant triplets at work in today’s crisis? Make charts headed with these categories and to list all the ways you see these forces at work in the current circumstances. Choose one of the triplets and design a poster illustrating it.

    d. Write a dialogue between Dr. King and another individual: you, George W. Bush, a member of the Taliban, one of the September 11 attackers, someone who fled the bombing of Afghanistan, a refugee in a camp in Gaza or the West Bank, etc.

  2. Look up Martin Luther King in the index of your U.S. History textbook, The Americans.   Write down all of the page numbers listed after his name.  Read about King on each of these pages.  In most cases, King is discussed for only a paragraph or a sentence (and only appears in a photograph on page 667), so it isn’t really a huge amount to read.  Take notes on all of the ideas the textbook attributes to Dr. King. 

    Which of the views shown on the pages handed out in class show up in our textbook?   What conclusions can you draw from this mini-research project?

  3. Write a letter to a local TV station or newspaper and tell them how you feel about the coverage they give to King on his birthday and, possibly, during Black History Month.  If you like some things about it, say so.  Also tell them what kind of information you think should be included that usually is left out.
  4. In King’s “Beyond Vietnam” speech, he suggests that the interconnected problems of poverty, militarism and racism cannot be solved as long as our society protects property rights and profits more than it serves human needs. Write an essay supporting or disputing this belief. Use the handout “Essay on King’s Giant Triplets of Racism, Extreme Materialism and Militarism.”
Teacher's Guide
Essential Questions
Day One
Day Two
Day Three
Day Four
Additional Projects/Activities I
Additional Projects/Activities II
Additional Projects/Activities III
Additional Projects/Activities IV
Transcript of TV Reports
Michael Eric Dyson
  Materials for Other Activities
Instructions for Essay on King's Giant Triplets
Who Killed Martin Luther King?
St. Martin, The Militant
All Things Censored
Native American Resistance
Day Of Shame
Samples Of Student Work

Urban Dreams
OUSD Curriculum Unit
Hidden In Plain Sight -
Martin Luther King, Jr.'s
Radical Vision
Subject: U.S. History
Grade Level: 11th

Lesson Plan Author:
Craig Gordon
Organization: OUSD