Keeping It Current For Grades 6–12

Extend your social studies instruction with informative and inspiring content from HMH®, HISTORY®, and the Center for Civic Education. Each month we bring you videos, articles, and current events designed to build cultural awareness, media literacy, and a deeper understanding of significant historical figures and events.

Resources for January
  • Video, articles, lessons, and more from our partners HISTORY and The Center for Civic Education
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
  • News articles for elementary and secondary classrooms
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Classroom Resources from HMH

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
December 17

Martin Luther King Jr. Day, is a national holiday that honors the leader of the modern civil rights movement in the United States. King was a Baptist minister from Georgia who, in the 1950s and 1960s, became an outspoken critic of racial segregation—the separation of black and white Americans in schools and other public institutions. King used nonviolent methods to draw attention to the mistreatment of African Americans.

His boycotts and marches helped bring about the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which made it illegal to discriminate by denying fair employment or public services. That year King received the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts. His work for civil rights continued throughout the 1960s. He also became a vocal critic of the Vietnam War. He was assassinated on April 4, 1968.

Four days later, Congressman John Conyers (D-MI) introduced a bill for a national Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, but it did not become law. For fifteen years, numerous groups and individuals pushed congress to pass MLK Day legislation. Finally, in 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed a law making the third Monday in January Martin Luther King, Jr., Day.

In 2006, Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton joined civil rights leaders of all ages and generations at Washington’s National Mall to attend the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial.

On the National Mall, the King memorial will join other monuments and memorials. The new memorial will feature an arrangement of stones and trees, plus waterfalls designed to flow to the cadence of Dr. King’s speaking voice.

Related Links:
  • Martin Luther King: Biography (External Link)
    Read a brief biography of Martin Luther King from the Nobel Foundation. The Foundation awarded him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.
  • The Life of Martin Luther King Jr. (External Link)
    Explore the wealth of materials on this interactive site about Martin Luther King, Jr. Includes documents, photographs, audio, and video. From The Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute at Stanford University.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service (External Link)
    Learn more about making Martin Luther King Jr. Day a day where you make difference in your community by helping others.

Free Classroom Resources from HISTORY

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
Martin Luther King Jr. was a social activist and Baptist minister who played a key role in the American civil rights movement from the mid-1950s until his assassination in 1968. King sought equality and human rights for African Americans, the economically disadvantaged and all victims of injustice through peaceful protest. He was the driving force behind watershed events such as the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the 1963 March on Washington, which helped bring about such landmark legislation as the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act. King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 and is remembered each year on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a U.S. federal holiday since 1986.
Learn more about Martin Luther King Jr. (External Link)
Video: Montgomery Bus Boycott (External Link)
Video: March from Selma to Montgomery (External Link)
Video: King Leads the March on Washington (External Link)
Video: Martin Luther King, Jr. House Bombing (External Link)

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Martin Luther King Jr. was a social activist and Baptist minister who played a key role in the American civil rights movement from the mid-1950s until his assassination in 1968. King sought equality and human rights for African Americans, the economically disadvantaged and all victims of injustice through peaceful protest. He was the driving force behind watershed events such as the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the 1963 March on Washington, which helped bring about such landmark legislation as the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act. King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 and is remembered each year on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a U.S. federal holiday since 1986.

Learn more about Martin Luther King Jr. (External Link)

Video: Montgomery Bus Boycott (External Link)

Video: March from Selma to Montgomery (External Link)

Video: King Leads the March on Washington (External Link)

Video: Martin Luther King, Jr. House Bombing (External Link)

Students Take Action from the Center for Civic Education

The Students Take Action service-learning feature relates stories of students who have participated in the Center for Civic Education’s Project Citizen program, which encourages students to take part in state or local government and learn how to monitor and influence public policy. Help your students become active and engaged citizens in their own communities with these resources.

Encouraging Safe Exercise

Working to Promote Health and Fitness

Diversity in American History

Check out the free resources below highlighting the critical role diverse groups have had in the shaping of American history. This month's resources include:

Voices of History

Listen to an actor's reading of a poem about legendary the Black folk hero and railroad worker John Henry.

HMH In the News and Current Events

Hmhinthenews.com is a great resource for elementary classrooms, with fun articles about what’s going on in the news. This website delivers age-appropriate current events stories about people, communities, the United States, and the world every month. Come back often for new stories, spotlight features, and polls.

Hmhcurrentevents.com enriches your secondary classroom with subject-specific information from world history, world geography, American history, economics, psychology, sociology, civics, government, and African American history. It also spotlights today’s headlines with activities, and web links.