While most of us are accustomed to learning and teaching about Martin Luther King, Jr. in the context of the civil rights movement, this lesson quite purposefully positions King in a different historical realm. While King’s role as a civil rights leader is still very relevant, we believe teaching about King in the context of the Vietnam war will help students deepen their knowledge of both King and the U.S. involvement in Vietnam.

National Standards for United States History

Era 9: Postwar United States


Standard 2C: The student understands the foreign and domestic consequences of U.S. involvement in Vietnam.

  • Assess the Vietnam policy of the Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon administrations and the shifts of public opinion about the war.
  • Evaluate how Vietnamese and Americans experienced the war and how the war continued to affect postwar politics and culture.
  • Analyze the constitutional issues involved in the war and explore the legacy of the Vietnam War.

National History Standards


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  Liberation Curriculum, Martin Luther King, Jr. Papers Project, ©2004