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Letter from a Birmingham Jail- Activity and Graphic Organizer (AP® Government)

Grade Levels
8th - 12th
Formats Included
  • Zip
16 (not including the letter)
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This resource provides a full and engaging lesson about Martin Luther King's, "Letter from a Birmingham Jail." The lesson includes an intro activity that will get your students thinking and moving, a 3-page graphic organizer that divides the letter into four section themes, a video clip to provide historical context, three discussion questions that will connect the letter to present day, and an answer key for the graphic organizer! Students will leave with a comprehensive understanding of this primary source after breaking down each element and highlighting its key concepts.

This resource was developed with U.S. History and U.S. Government classes in mind, particularly AP® classes. "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" is one of the new required foundational documents for the redesigned AP® Government exam and this lesson provides an engaging and thorough overview of the primary source.

Read below for more information about what is included in this resource:

- Intro Activity: Students will get up and out of their seats as they consider three controversial statements and discuss with their peers- an engaging anticipatory set! All materials for the activity included.

- Video Clip: A link is provided in the teacher directions to a short (5 min) video that will give students important historical context of when and why the letter was written.

- Two versions of the letter- the full version and an abridged version that is 40% shorter. Each version has been broken down into four themed sections of roughly even length, making it easy to do a jigsaw if you would like.

- 3-page graphic organizer that will guide students through the document, pointing out key concepts, arguments, and quotes along the way. The organizer can be used with either the full or abridged version of the document. In addition, I have included a fourth summary page that can be used in addition to the 3-page graphic organizer or in place of it if you are short on time and just need a quick overview.

- Discussion Questions- There are three discussion questions listed on the summary page I just mentioned that will help students to connect the themes of the letter to modern day society.

- Answer Key- The key comes with a fully completed graphic organizer for easy reference.

In addition, check out these other great U.S. Government and U.S. History resources, available in my store:

U.S. History Timeline Activity: Intro or Review Activity

U.S. Government Warm-Ups

AP® U.S. Government Warm-Ups

195 U.S. History Warm-Ups- Full Year (Foundations to Present Day)

Civil Rights Unit Test- Editable!

15 Required Landmark Supreme Court Cases- Chart, Quiz, and Keys (AP® Government)

Constitutional or Unconstitutional? Activity and Outlines

Foundations of American Democracy Bundle for AP® U.S. Government

Constitution and Federalism BIG BUNDLE for BOTH Regular and AP® U.S. Government classes

Government Review Game BUNDLE-6 Games

Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Supreme Court Rankings Activity

1st Day of U.S. Government Class Activities

Mock Congress

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Total Pages
16 (not including the letter)
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
1 hour
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