Martin Luther King Jr.: Exploring the Purveyor of Peace through Photos

Martin Luther King Jr.: Exploring the Purveyor of Peace through Photos
Lady Bird Johnson: Religion, Social Issues and Reform

Skill: Elementary School
Time Required: Three to four class periods


Martin Luther King was a major proponent of the Civil Rights Act, passed in 1965 by President Lyndon Johnson.  Many events occurred surrounding this bill, especially events that led to its development.  The real question is, “Who was Martin Luther King?”  This lesson will involve students learning about the life of Martin Luther King.  Students will create a pictorial timeline depicting several important events in Martin Luther King’s life.


Students will research the life of Martin Luther King, analyze the research information and draw their own rendition of scenes in his life; create a class photo album about Martin Luther King; and work cooperatively to design a pictorial timeline.

Materials Required:

Computer, Internet access, printer, paper, writing utensils, coloring utensils or drawing program (Paint), materials to create a photo album, and a long sheet paper for creation of a timeline.


  1. Introduce students to the lesson by explaining that they will draw scenes of Martin Luther King’s life.
  2. Depending on student ability, either perform your own research using the web sites listed below or provide the links for your students to do their own research on Martin Luther King’s life.
  3. Ask students to randomly select (or you may assign a list) of events from Martin Luther King’s life and draw a picture of each.  Depending on skill level, assign a number of drawings.
  4. Once completed, have your students arrange the drawings in a class photo album, complete with captions, to depict Martin Luther King’s life history. 
  5. Next, have students choose their favorite and most representative drawings to create a pictorial timeline of Martin Luther King’s life.  This final project will act as a summary to review his life events using text and pictures already drawn by students.

Extending the Lesson:

Place numbers beginning with the first picture (chronologically).  Have students begin with any number throughout the classroom and list, in order, the events depicted by the drawings.

Sources & Resources:

This lesson was developed by Marian Maxfield, Kent State University