Teachers' Guide for Why We Can't Wait Now Available

A teachers' guide for Why We Can't Wait is now available on the King Legacy Series Website.

Why We Can't Wait finds Martin Luther King, Jr. confident, poised and prepared to combat segregation in Birmingham, AL. In this account, MLK details the brutality of mayor Bull Conner, infamous for turning water hoses on unarmed protestors, and the bravery of ordinary citizens who were undeterred in their commitment to justice. This volume contains "Letter from Birmingham Jail," one of MLK's most famous declarations about racial inequality. MLK also notes the wisest decision he made during the Birmingham struggle, that of involving young people who invigorated the protests and reminded everyone about the importance of involving youth in working for social change. Drawing on the importance of youth enables teachers to make visible the lineage between advocating for racial and social injustice from 1963 to today, and the power-and importance-of young people to assume that mantle.

Why We Can't Wait is useful for all curriculum units, discussions, and investigations that grapple with the issues of justice and injustice, and this text encourages students to think deeply about what it means to pursue nonviolence in words and in action. Though written in the 1960s, it is impossible to read Why We Can't Wait and not draw parallels to today. It is relevant for today's students, as they find their way and seek to add their own voices to the world. Why We Can't Wait provides a compelling rationale for helping students think through how to effect substantive change.

Why We Can't Wait is appropriate for grades 9-12, and for the English and History classrooms. This guide is divided into four parts: pre-reading activities; summaries of the chapters and teaching suggestions; post-reading activities; and resources. Pre-reading activities are intended to build students' prior knowledge and provide points of entry prior to reading the text. Summaries and teaching suggestions include what happens in the chapter as well as various activities that teachers can use to engage students in critical thinking about the chapter. Post-reading activities are designed to help students synthesize their reading and make connections to other aspects of their learning. Finally, resources are included for extended study about the text. Teachers can break up the reading based on their allocated time periods. The chapters can be broken up to be adapted to classroom instructional time.