Martin Luther King, Jr. (Mini)

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Martin Luther King, Jr. (10-Minute Mini)

An Easy-to-Use, 10-Minute Play for Elementary and Middle School

Grades 3-6
10 minutes
$14.95 (or get all four Minis for $39.95)

In Stock.

Includes script, teacher's guide, and audio CD. The CD has all the songs recorded twice: first with singing, so you and your students can learn the songs, and then without voices so your students can perform without us singing along.

And if you ever have any trouble or questions, you can contact us at any time for help.


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Martin Luther King, Jr. Play/CD - $14.95
All Four Mini Plays - $39.95

Or order by phone, fax or PO

We created our 10-Minute Minis to give teachers a fun, memorable, and time-efficient (ten minutes!) way to supplement or review a specific area of the curriculum. These shows are meant to be read aloud once, twice, or (at most) three times with different students reading different parts each time. No rehearsing; no memorizing; no costumes, sets, or audience. All the students have lines in every show, and each show has two songs that can be sung by all the students. These are NOT Musical plays designed to be performed on a stage in front of an audience. We suppose it could be done that way, and it may even work pretty darn well. Teachers are a lot smarter than we are, and though we try our best to thwart your creativity, you usually outsmart us. Still, give the “reading aloud without rehearsal” system a shot. We think this show will give you a lot of curricular bang for your ten-minute buck.

This 10-minute review of legalized racial segregation and Martin Luther’s King, Jr.’s role in the Civil Rights movement is a different kind of show for Bad Wolf. You won't find our usual silly humor here. Also, in addition to two songs sung by the entire class, the dialogue is spoken by narrators and the chorus (rather than by invented characters). And finally, much of the script comprises a recounting of specific Jim Crow laws and selections from King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. We felt that the facts of segregation and the powerful words of King in response speak far more vividly and eloquently than anything we could invent. And there is still lots of curriculum packed into these few pages.

Key Concepts

  • Reconstruction disenfranchisement
  • “separate but equal”
  • segregation
  • non-violence
  • Brown v. Topeka Board of Education
  • civil disobedience
  • Rosa Parks
  • Montgomery bus boycott
  • March on Washington
  • Nobel Peace Prize
  • Letter from Birmingham jail
  • Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • Southern Christian Leadership Conference
Author: Ron Fink (Composer) and John Heath (Script and Lyrics)
© 2007, 2010 Bad Wolf Press, LLC

"We did the Martin Luther King 10-minute mini for a school assembly. We learned more from those two songs and the spoken words than I could have effectively taught in five lessons during the week. Absolutely heartwrenching and effective learning!"

---Ruth Kenney, Teacher, Terrace Park School, Mountlake Terrace, WA

"My 5th grade class performed the mini-play Overcoming Segregation for the 5th-8th grades in our auditorium today, as we do not have this as a holiday, and it was great to do as a way to celebrate the life of MLK in a meaningful way. Tears were coming to my eyes as my students sang the two songs beautifully. Our community for the past few years has had an MLK celebration at our Parks and Recreation on the evening of the MLK holiday, so my class is also performing this play tonight for the community. Thanks for this great play!"

---Cathy Leu, Teacher (5th grade), Unalaska, Alaska

"The students sang on of the songs over the intercom on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. I think it's important that students get the opportunity to learn about Jim Crow Laws and other things that happened during that time before they get into high school."

---Susan Hufford, Teacher (2nd-3rd grade), Siena Magnet, Meridian, ID

"Our intermediate students performed this mini-Musical in honor of Dr. King's birthday. It was a huge success with audiences, and the students are still humming/singing the songs."

---Tracy McClure, Teacher, Old Adobe Elementary, Petaluma, CA


This show uses 29 NARRATORS, although the spoken lines can be distributed in
whatever way works for your students. The entire Class functions as a
CHORUS, which both speaks lines (and parts of lines) and sings two songs. At
one point early in the show we recommend that the Class be divided into two
separate Choruses that take turns recounting various examples of Jim Crow


NARRATOR #1: Martin Luther King, Jr. was very important in American history.
To understand what he did, we need to find out what life was like for black
Americans before he became a leader in the Civil Rights movement.

NARRATOR #2: After the Civil War, the northern states tried to change
southern society and politics in what was called Reconstruction.

NARRATOR #3: But by the late 1870s, most southern states were once again on
their own, and many began passing laws that made it difficult for black
citizens to vote and legalized racial segregation.

NARRATOR #4: These laws are called “Jim Crow” laws, and they required
“separate but equal” treatment of white and black Americans.

NARRATOR #5: But in reality this segregation was almost never equal.

NARRATOR #6: Here are some typical laws from the Age of Jim Crow. On

CHORUS A: Separate schools are required for white and colored children.

CHORUS B: Books shall not be interchangeable between the white and colored

NARRATOR #7: On living and dying:

CHORUS A: All marriages between a white person and a negro are forever

CHORUS B: It is unlawful for anyone to rent an apartment to a negro person
when the building has white people living there.
CHORUS A: Every hospital will have separate entrances for white and colored
patients and visitors.

CHORUS B: At a cemetery, no colored persons may be buried in ground set
apart for white persons.

NARRATOR #8: On services:

CHORUS A: No restaurant may serve white and colored people in the same
room, unless they are separated by a solid partition, and unless there are
separate white and colored entrances.

CHORUS B: All bus and train stations shall have separate waiting rooms and
separate ticket windows for the white and colored races.

CHORUS A: Every employer of white or negro males shall provide separate
toilet facilities.

NARRATOR #9: On Sports and Recreation:

CHORUS B: It is illegal for a negro and white person to play together at
any game of pool or billiards.

CHORUS A: No colored person may visit a park owned by the city for the
benefit and enjoyment of white persons.

CHORUS B: Every movie theater or any place of public entertainment shall
separate the white race and the colored race.

CHORUS A: No amateur colored baseball team may play baseball in a vacant lot
or baseball diamond within two blocks of a playground devoted to the white

NARRATOR #10: And there were even Jim Crow laws against trying to change
the Jim Crow laws:

CHORUS B: Any person who distributes printed matter suggesting social
equality between whites and negroes shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and
subject to fine or imprisonment.

Song 1 - Listen now!


They wrote it in the rules
You must have separate schools
But separate wasn’t equal, they all knew.

Though playing second base
Has zilch to do with race
Athletics were all segregated too.

When you died it got worse
You went to separate cemeteries in a separate hearse.

Separate but equal
There’s a fatal flaw
Blacks had no equality
Still it was the law.
Separate but equal
So said ol’ Jim Crow
Finally they came to see
It had to go.

And if you had a thirst
Go read the sign there first
There’re separate drinking fountains, don’t you know

Hotels could let you in
Depending on your skin
There’re bathrooms for each race with ol’ Jim Crow.

Traveling ’round was no treat
The trains had separate cars and buses all had separate seats.

Separate but equal
There’s a fatal flaw
Blacks had no equality
Still it was the law.
Separate but equal
So said ol’ Jim Crow
Finally they came to see
It had to go, it had to go, it had to go.

Sample Songs

Click on the song name to hear samples. Please note that internet song samples have low fidelity and rest assured that the CDs we sell sound much better! (This player requires Flash. If you have any trouble hearing the samples, just contact us for help.)

Song List

1. Separate but Equal
2. He Had a Dream

Common Core and Other National Standards

History/Social Studies

Language Arts

Fine Arts

  • National Music Standards 1, 2, 6, 7, and 8 for K-4th, Standard 1 for 5th-8th
  • National Theater Standards 2, 3, 6, 7, and 8 for K-4th, Standards 2 and 6 for 5th-8th
  • National Dance Standards 1 and 2 for K-4th


General Vocabulary Building

Civil War
southern states
racial segregation
devoted to
fatal flaw
civil disobedience
racial discrimination
public opinion
moral responsibility
Nobel Peace Prize
Emancipation Proclamation

Vocabulary from the Excerpts from the “I Have a Dream” speech