cartoon of the week

MLK: A Dream Deferred?

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CREDIT: Dave Granlund/

On January 16, Americans observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day to honor the legacy of the slain civil rights leader. A Baptist minister and activist, King was instrumental in using nonviolent civil disobedience to advance civil rights for black Americans. He delivered his most famous speech, "I Have a Dream," in 1963, talking about his vision for racial equality in America. In 1968, a turbulent year in American history, King was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee.


  1. Who is the man on the billboard, and what do the words reference? 
  2. Why do you think the cartoon shows a ladder and buckets of paint? Why is Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous sentence incomplete? 
  3. What point might the cartoonist be trying to make? Do you agree or disagree? 
  4. More than 50 years after King’s famous speech, do you think his “dream” has been achieved? What civil rights gains have been made for black Americans? What work, if any, still needs to be done? Explain.  
  5. When President Obama took office in 2009, some Americans spoke of the possibility of a “post-racial” America. Do you think such an America can ever be achieved? Why or why not?

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