Martin Luther King, Jr. Program
Available for Schools and Communities

World Telegram & Sun photo by Dick DeMarsico.
Source (public domain): Library of Congress, CALL NUMBER: NYWTS - BIOG--King, Jr., Martin L.
--Religion [item] [P&P] REPRODUCTION NUMBER: LC-USZ62-126559 (b&w film copy neg.)


As an experienced teacher and drama director who has produced numerous celebrations of Dr. King’s birthday, I have written an easy-to-produce program, engaging 1 to 18 participants. It is appropriate for Black History Month and for Martin Luther King, Jr. birthday celebrations. This program can be presented without rehearsal. It is appropriate for all ages and all audiences.


The sample verse below represents the majesty and simplicity of Martin Luther King’s message:


R is for race, the color of one’s skin—

Sometimes mistaken for what is within.

Race is not a reason for what is bad or good.

Race is not a reason to be misunderstood.

Race separates people if they let it,

And it unites them when they forget it.

Martin Luther King had black skin,

But he was every color from within.


R is for race. [Reader lights candle]


Why and How to Use the Martin Luther King, Jr. Candle Lighting Ceremony: Each January we invite citizens across the USA to celebrate the birthday of a great American -- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Special programs help bring the reality of this man’s amazing life and mission to the everyday experiences of people everywhere.


This twenty-minute candle lighting ceremony is a very powerful way to acknowledge the life and work of Dr. King. Each time it is presented, the readers and the director have brought their own special flavors to the ceremony. That is truly the spirit in which I wrote this work.


Participation: You can present the candle-lighting ceremony with 18 readers, or one reader -- or any combination in between. This flexibility makes it possible for any group or individual to present this program.


Minimal Rehearsal: Participants read the verses; no memory work is required. The logical sequence makes it easy for participants to know their places in the presentation. One rehearsal is sufficient.


Meaningful Content: The writing is based on research and accurately reflects Dr. King’s life.


Memorable language: The lines are informal, but they are skillfully written, and include imagery and rhyme that participants have praised as respectful and uplifting.


Simplicity of presentation: Props for this presentation are inexpensive, easily acquired, and easy to use. A long table, letters spelling Martin Luther King, Jr., and 18 candles are sufficient for the presentation.


Opportunities for Customized Presentation: Sometime this ceremony is very formal. All of the candles are alike, participants dress-up, a reverent tone prevails. Sometimes the ceremony is informal. Participants bring their own candles, they dress as they wish, and lively celebration music precedes and follows the ceremony.



To purchase the program, please visit this link:


Updated 1 January 2016