Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and the Day of Racial Healing

How to talk about race with students of any age.

Talking About Race and Racial Justice

This year, the third week in January is even busier than usual. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and the 80th birthday of boxing champion and humanitarian Muhammad Ali are both on Monday, January 17, and the next day is the National Day of Racial Healing. These events bring with them valuable opportunities to facilitate important discussions with students and peers about race and racial justice.

The Michigan Learning Channel has compiled a list of ways to start those conversations. Here, you’ll find resources for students of all ages.

For Teachers

Portrait Of Female Teacher In Classroom At Montessori School

PBS Teachers’ Lounge

Articles by teachers and educators to build a community that values new ideas and inspiration for the classroom.

See articles related to teaching and discussing race on PBS Learning Media.

For Preschool and Elementary Students

 Talking to Young Children About Race and Racism

Tips and resources to help caregivers have a meaningful conversation with young children about race, racism, and being anti-racist.

Find the list at PBS KIDS For Parents.

Sesame Street in Communities: Racial Justice

The residents of Sesame Street offer videos, printables, and more for young children to learn about race.

Find resources at Sesame Street in Communities.

Little Neighbors

Foster a love of community service with activities on how to think and act with concern, respect, and kindness for others. 

Find the full list of activities at Sesame Street in Communities.

Extra Credit Special Episode

Travel with students from the Detroit School of the Arts and learn about Martin Luther King, Jr. and his legacy.

Episode airs on the Michigan Learning Channel on Tuesday, January 18 at 1:00pm and 8:00pm.

Reading List for Ages 6-12

Fiction and nonfiction books about Civil Rights leaders, standing up for what you believe in, and helping others.

See the full list on the Reading Rockets website.

For Middle School and Above

Muhammad Ali’s 80th Birthday

Many people know Muhammad Ali as the famous boxer, but he was also a champion of humanitarianism through his commitment to service outside of the ring. In recognition of his 80th birthday, PBS Books, USA TODAY and the Muhammad Ali Center will present “Champion of Service: Celebrating Muhammad Ali,” a live virtual event at 8:00pm on Wednesday, January 12, 2022.

Watch the event on the PBS Books Facebook page.

Racism in the Present Day

Use these materials with middle and high school students to help them understand the long history of anti-Black racism in the United States, and think about ways to address it in their own communities.

Find the collection on PBS Learning Media.

On Air Specials

We’re airing documentaries and specials abut racial justice and the history of civil rights the night of January 17 starting at 9:00pm.

You can stream 1964: The Fight for a Right, With Infinite Hope: MLK and the Civil Rights Movement, John Lewis – Get in the Way, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards, and more on