Skip to main content

ASU students help children learn about MLK

January 13, 2010

With the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday coming up on Jan. 18, students at Arizona State University have created some suggested activities for children and for school teachers who want to incorporate information on the civil rights leader into their lesson plans.

The activities are geared for different grade levels, from drawing pictures and writing letters to Dr. King to analyzing the lives of influential African-Americans and how they have made an impact on history. The material is available online at and at  

Also included are online videos of King’s speeches, suggested books for students to read and informative Web sites. The ASU students, who are in the visual communication design classes of Professors Mookesh Patel and Al Sanft, have created posters and other materials to promote the holiday on campus. This is the first time for ASU students to gather and publish teaching materials on King.

ASU will celebrate the legacy of King at an annual breakfast Jan. 19 at the Polytechnic campus, honoring 24 schoolchildren from across the state who won awards in an MLK poster-essay contest. The winners will receive savings bonds and prize ribbons from ASU President Michael Crow, and four children will read their first-place essays to the group.

Children in the poster-essay contest were asked to portray a person or activity in their community that exemplifies leadership through service. About 1,700 children entered the contest.

The philosophy of servant leadership, as exemplified by King, supports people who choose to serve first, and then lead as a way of expanding service to others.  Eugene Grigsby, Jr., an artist and educator who has devoted his life to inspiring and uplifting others, will be awarded ASU’s 2010 Servant Leadership Award. Dominick Hernandez, a senior in business, will receive the student Servant Leadership Award.

This is the 25th year for ASU to commemorate Martin Luther King, Jr. ASU students will kick off a week of events with a day of service at South Mountain Park on Jan. 18 and will stage a rally with performances at 11:30 a.m., Jan. 19, at the Tempe campus. Middle school students will reenact King’s march on Washington, Jan 20, at the West campus. The Downtown Phoenix campus will hold a spoken word event at 8 p.m., Jan. 21, in the Wells Fargo Student Center.

Offices and classrooms on the four ASU campuses will be closed Jan. 18 to observe the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.

For more information on the events, awards, service opportunities and teaching materials, visit the Web site