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The first few scenes of the plays shown here appear on the following pages. Full plays can be downloaded at the Mackowiecki Lewis store on TeachersPayTeachers.com. Visit ReadAloudPlays.com for additional info.

M M M L L L K K K R R R e e e a

MLK’s Freedom March

Historical fiction originally published in the Feb./Mar. 2010 issue of Scholastic’s Storyworks magazine. Tells the story of a family who overcome their struggles to gather together at the 1968 March for Jobs and Freedom in Washington D.C. where Dr. King delivers his I Have a Dream speech.

For grades 3-7. Parts for 11 students. Ten pages. Includes comprehension activity and key; CCSs 1,2,3,4, 10)

All plays are fully reproducible. The original purchaser is licensed to copy one class set per year for use in his or her classroom. School performance rights are included.

Martin’s Big Dream: The Childhood of Martin Luther King

Originally published in the Jan. 2000 issue of Storyworks and reprinted in the Jan./Feb. 2003 issue of Instructor magazine. Historical fiction based on King’s own writing. Reveals an incident from King’s childhood in which he was denied being able to play baseball with his white friends. According to King’s autobiography, this was a factor in his becoming a Civil Right Crusader.

For grades 3-7. Parts for 10 to 12 students. Ten pages including comprehension activity and key; CCSs Literature items #s 1,4, and 10

M M M L L L K K K R R R e e e a
M M M L L L K K K R R R e e e a

In the Jailhouse with Dr. King

Historical fiction. Set during the Montgomery Bus Boycott, tells the story of a angry black teen who finds himself in jail with Dr. King. The teen is there because he has lashed out at oppressive society, but he soon learns about and sees Dr. King’s commitment to non-violence first hand.

Ideal for grades 5-7. Parts for 9 to 14 students plus innumerable extras. Eight pages including comprehension activity; CCSs Literature items 1, 3, 4, and 10.

M M M L L L K K K R R R e e e a

Gonna Let it Shine

Non-fiction from the Jan. 2012 issue of Storyworks. Based on 8-year-old Sheyann Webb’s firsthand account of her involvement in the “Bloody Sunday” events of 1965 in Selma, Alabama. Sheyann is historically regarded as MLK’s “youngest freedom fighter.”

For grades 3-7. Parts for 10 to 14 students plus innumerable non-speaking extras. Eleven pages including comprehension activity and key; CCSs Literature items #1,2,3,6, 9, and 10 and Information Text items #1,2,3, and 10.

Cast:  Historians 1 & 2  Adult Lucy – the Narrator  Lucy – an
Cast:  Historians 1 & 2  Adult Lucy – the Narrator  Lucy – an

Cast:

  • Historians 1 & 2

Adult Lucy – the Narrator Lucy – an eleven year old girl

  • James– Lucy’s teenaged brother Mom & Dad – their parents Grandma

    • Clayton – a young man from California Erik – a young man from Ohio

      • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Cast:  Historians 1 & 2  Adult Lucy – the Narrator  Lucy – an

Scene One

The Dinner Table

ADULT LUCY: I was still just a kid in 1963, but even I could see America was still divided.

HISTORIAN 1: In many communities black people were still denied the right to vote.

HISTORIAN 2: They also had a hard time finding jobs, and even when they did, they were often paid less money for doing the same work.

HISTORIAN 1: There were marches and protests, with participants demanding an end to segregation and for equality in housing opportunities and education.

HISTORIAN 2: The March on Washington was about jobs—about black people getting fair and equal pay.

ADULT LUCY: My family and I were gathered around the dinner table when my brother James brought up the March.

DAD: I don’t know how they expect a man to take care of his family on less than $2 an hour.

MOM: Your father asked for a raise, but his boss said no.

JAMES: That isn’t fair.

DAD: That’s just how it is.

JAMES: It doesn’t have to be, Dad. You should come to the march. We all need to be there!

ADULT LUCY: We were all quiet for a spell, hoping that James and Daddy wouldn’t get into another of their arguments. James had been reading about Dr. King. He was excited about the changes taking place. But Daddy, well, he didn’t exactly want things to stay the same. He just didn’t know what he could do about it.

DAD: We already talked about this, James.

JAMES: You could still change your mind.

DAD: Ah, son. You know I can’t afford to miss work.

JAMES: But Dad, it’s all about work. Dr. King and the others are trying to convince the President to sign a law

JAMES: But Dad, you know Dr. King preaches non-violence. Besides, this march is going to be different. If enough people show up, it could be a turning point.

DAD: Like I said, James, I can’t risk losing my job.

MOM: And I have much too much do, what with taking care of Grandma and all.

LUCY: Is Grandma going to be all right? Lately she hardly ever gets out of bed.

MOM: I don’t know, honey. I want her to go see a specialist, but she’s being stubborn.

JAMES: I sure wish you’d all change your minds about the March. If folks like us aren’t willing to risk a little for freedom, who will?

DAD: That’s enough, son!

Library of Congress (PD US Gov.)
Library of Congress (PD US Gov.)

that’ll help people like you get paid fairly. They’re hoping a hundred

thousand people will show up.

JAMES: It doesn’t have to be, Dad. You should come to the march. We all need

DAD: When your Uncle Louis went on one of these marches, his boss fired him—said he didn’t appreciate how good he had it.

Scene Two

The Health Clinic

JAMES: When this is over, you’ll be able to get a new job—a better job!

DAD: My job is just fine. It paid for that meatloaf you’re eating right now.

MOM: Your father just wants to keep us safe. They just had a big march down in Birmingham where a lot of people got hurt.

DAD: That’s right. The marchers were met with fire hoses and police dogs.

ADULT LUCY: The truth was that I wasn’t thinking much about the march. Grandma hadn’t been feeling well, and we’d just found out she had cancer. Momma wanted her to see a special doctor.

MOM: The clinic isn’t going to take care of this, Mother!

GRANDMA: We don’t have the money, and that’s that. What’s another doctor going to do anyway?

Characters: Martin - -Martin Luther King, Jr. as a boy Clark and Wallace - -the sons

Characters:

Martin--Martin Luther King, Jr. as a boy

Clark and Wallace--the sons of the local grocer

Daddy King—Martin’s father Narrators 1 and 2

MedgarMartin’s friend

Mrs. KingMartin’s mother

Viola and Lorraine--older women in Martin’s church

Mrs. Conner--the grocer’s wife

Adult Martin--Martin Luther King, Jr. as an adult

Characters: Martin - -Martin Luther King, Jr. as a boy Clark and Wallace - -the sons

Scene 1

the sandlot

NARRATOR 2: Martin enjoyed singing and riding his bike. He delivered newspapers. And he loved to play baseball with two white boys in the neighborhood.

NARRATOR 1: Martin Luther King, Jr. grew up in Georgia back in the days when Babe Ruth was still hitting homeruns and movies were always filmed in black and white.

CLARK: Pitch it, Wallace.

MARTIN: Can I play, too?

WALLACE: Hey, yeah! Martin is on my team!

CLARK: Nuh uh! I get him. He played on your team last time.

WALLACE: So? I called it! He’s on my team.

CLARK: Don’t try to push me around, Wallace. Else we’ll have to go to the grass!

NARRATOR 1: They called Martin’s father Daddy King.

DADDY KING: Just as the Good Book says, we must forgive our oppressors. Whether black or white, whether young or old, we must love our neighbors as ourselves.

NARRATOR 1: The boys would argue about who got to have Martin on his team. Sometimes they would call each other names. Sometimes they would get into fistfights. But even as a young boy, Martin was a peacemaker.

MARTIN: No sirs! My daddy says you shouldn’t talk like that. There will be no fighting neither.

WALLACE: Your daddy may be a preacher, but he ain’t no umpire.

MARTIN: I was on your team last time, Wallace. I’ll play for Clark today. That’s fair.

WALLACE: I’m going to strike you out, Martin King! Just you watch.

MARTIN: I’m not watching anything. Put it in here. I’m going to hit a homerun!

The Ebenezer Baptist Church VIOLA: Look Lorraine, there’s young Martin at age 6 (family photo)
The Ebenezer
Baptist Church
VIOLA:
Look
Lorraine,
there’s
young
Martin at age 6 (family photo)

Martin. Isn’t he just adorable?

CLARK: Don’t try to push me around, Wallace. Else we’ll have to go to the grass!

Scene 2

the Ebenezer Baptist Church

NARRATOR 2: Martin’s father was pastor of Ebenezer Baptist, a church Martin’s grandfather had started before Martin was born.

LORRAINE: Martin, doesn’t it make you

proud to see your father standing so tall before the congregation?

MARTIN: Yes, ma’am.

VIOLA: You’re going to follow in his footsteps, aren’t you, Martin? Will you become a preacher like him someday?

An original play set during the Montgomery Bus Boycott of ‘56 IIInnn ttthhheee JJJaaaiiilllhhhooouuussseee wwwiiittthhh DDDrrr...
An original play set during the Montgomery Bus Boycott of ‘56
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By Mack Lewis  ReadAloudPlays.com
An original play set during the Montgomery Bus Boycott of ‘56 IIInnn ttthhheee JJJaaaiiilllhhhooouuussseee wwwiiittthhh DDDrrr...

CCaasstt ooff CChhaarraacctteerrss::

  • Emmitta 13 year old African-American

VoiceEmmitt’s voice later in life

Historianthe historical narrative

Dr. King

Bus Driver

Shop Owner

Stranger

Prisoners 1, 2, and 3

Mayor

Man

Policeman

Woman

An original play set during the Montgomery Bus Boycott of ‘56 IIInnn ttthhheee JJJaaaiiilllhhhooouuussseee wwwiiittthhh DDDrrr...

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Montgomery, Alabama

VOICE: Truth is, folks been colorin’ me bad since the day I was born. It didn’t seem to matter where I went or what I did, people always got to hollerin’ at me.

BUS DRIVER: Get outta there, boy! Those seats are for whites only. You know the rules.

SHOP OWNER: Are you lookin’ for trouble? How many times do ya have to be told to come in through the back?!

HISTORIAN: Racial prejudice made Alabama in the 1950s frustrating for everyone. But it may have been especially confusing for black children.

VOICE: I got to hearin’ how bad I was so much, well, I guess I started believin’ it.

STRANGER: You there. Get away from that drinking fountain! You know it’s not for your kind!

POLICEMAN: Can’t you read the sign? This park is for whites only!

VOICE: I couldn’t read much, but I could read that. It seemed to me there were only

What does this line suggest about Emmitt’s attitude?

two words a black boy needed to know: whites only. By the time I turned thirteen, I’d had it with “whites only.”

S S c c e e n n e e 1 1 The Montgomery City Jail

SScceennee 11

The Montgomery City Jail

VOICE: It was in 1956 when things took a turn. You probably know it as the year of Rosa Parks.

VOICE: I’d heard of Dr. King. He was leading

the bus boycott.

HISTORIAN: When a young Dr. Martin

Does the mood of the play change right here? If so, why?

Luther King agreed to lead the boycott, he didn’t expect to end up in jail.

VOICE: The other prisoners seemed excited to see him.

PRISONER #1: Reverend, I’m surprised to see you here!

HISTORIAN: It was in December of ’55 that a black woman named Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a city bus. It started the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which many people consider the start of the modern Civil Rights Movement.

S S c c e e n n e e 1 1 The Montgomery City Jail

DR. KING: I judge by all the black faces that even the jailhouse is segregated.

PRISONER #2: That’s right. Whites and blacks suffer in separate cells. Makes you wonder if theirs is as dirty and disgusting as ours!

VOICE: Dr. King saw what I saw: hard men sittin’ on broken benches, and others lying on torn mattresses. Why, the toilet was right out in the open in a corner of the cell!

VOICE: But for me it was the year of goin’ to the jailhouse. Fed up with the way people treated me, I threw a rock through the window of a “whites only” business.

POLICEMAN: Go on, boy. This is where the likes of you belong.

VOICE: As the big iron door shut behind me, fear swept over me like a cold wind. Though all the faces were black like mine, they seemed no safer than those that had always colored me bad.

POLICEMAN: Until somebody pays for that window, you’re gonna rot in here.

DR. KING: No matter what you men have done, you don’t deserve to be treated like this.

VOICE: I wedged myself into a corner and tried to make m’self as invisible as could be. Truth is, I was scared of just about everybody there. But then the jailer brought in another prisoner.

PRISONER #3: Certainly you don’t deserve it, Reverend.

PRISONER #1: That’s right! Why you here, Dr. King?

POLICEMAN: All right, King. Get on in there with all the others.

DR. KING: Believe it or not, they arrested me for going thirty in a twenty-five mile per hour zone.

The Selma to Montgomery March & the 1965 Voting Rights Act Cast:  Sheyann Webb –

The Selma to Montgomery March & the 1965 Voting Rights Act

The Selma to Montgomery March & the 1965 Voting Rights Act Cast:  Sheyann Webb –

Cast:

  • Sheyann Webb – an eight-year-old girl Adult Sheyann

Rachel West – her nine-year-old friend Historian Narrator

  • Dr. King Rev. Hosea Williams

  • Mr. Webb Mrs. Webb – Sheyann’s parents

  • Clerk – at the courthouse Lady Marcher Lawman Farmer

The Selma to Montgomery March & the 1965 Voting Rights Act Cast:  Sheyann Webb –

Scene One – Selma, Alabama, 1965

Adult Shey: The 15th Amendment gave African- Americans the right to vote way back in 1870.

Historian: But nearly one hundred years later, black people were still being denied access to the polls.

Narrator: Three hundred people have marched to the courthouse in Selma, Alabama, to register to vote. Most in line won’t be allowed inside.

Adult Shey: I was there when Amelia Boynton and other Civil Rights leaders led these marches. These events often ended with all the marchers being arrested.

Narrator: An old farmer is trying to register, but he’s required to take a “literacy test.”

Historian: Literacy tests were rigged for failure. White people didn’t have to take them.

Farmer (reading): ‘Who was Zachary Taylor’s vice-president?’ Why, that it’d be…

Clerk: You’re writin’ outside the line, old man. You’ve failed already. You can’t register. You can’t vote. You may as well quit right now.

Farmer: You can’t tell me that I can’t register. I’ll try anyway.

Clerk: So be it, but you won’t be votin’ in this county.

Narrator: The farmer already knows the clerk will use any excuse to deny his application. He also knows his name will be published in the newspaper just for trying.

Historian: Black people who tried to register were often fired from their jobs or run off their land. In some places, they were required to pay “poll taxes” in order to vote.

Narrator: Despite the risks, black citizens continue to wait their turn. Outside, the people in line shape their determination into song.

Cast: We shall overcome / we shall overcome / we shall overcome someday / oh deep in my heart / I do believe / we shall overcome / someday…

Clerk: You’re writin’ outside the line, old man. You’ve failed already. You can’t register. You can’t

Scene Two -- Brown Chapel

Adult Shey: I was just eight years old when I risked my life to be Dr. Martin Luther King’s youngest freedom fighter. Whenever Civil Rights meetings were held at the church, I’d sneak out of the house to attend.

Narrator: Sheyann and her friend Rachel follow a crowd into Brown Chapel. Dr. King spots them right away.

King: And what is it you girls want?

Girls: We want freedom.

King: I can't hear you.

Girls: We want freedom.

King: This time I want you to say it like you mean it. What is it you want?

Girls: Freedom!

King: That's the way I want to hear it!

Clerk: You’re writin’ outside the line, old man. You’ve failed already. You can’t register. You can’t

Scene Three – Still a Slave

Adult Shey: One night during the second week of the movement, I began to run a fever.

Mrs. Webb: You been out in the cold and rain too much, young lady. Other folks can sing tonight. You need to stay in bed.

Adult Shey: Momma brought me some soup and we talked about my Great Great Granmomma, who’d been a slave.

Mrs. Webb: When they was freed, they didn’t have the money to go up North, so they just stayed right here and worked for next to nothin’.

Post-slavery life was hard for African- Americans. They often worked long hours just for food and
Post-slavery life was hard for African-
Americans. They often worked long hours
just for food and a place to sleep, as if they
were still slaves.

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Those in bold are available on TeachersPayTeachers. Those in red are in Read Aloud Plays: Classic Short Stories (Scholastic, 2010)

P P P l l l a a a y y y s s s bp e , Oct. 25, 2010) Stolen Childhoods [Worked to the Bone] ( Scope , Oct. 31, 2011; Junior Scholastic , Feb 27, 2012) The Baltimore Plot ( PLAYS magazine, Jan/Feb 2002) The Birthmark ( Scope , Jan. 12, 2013) The Daring Escape of Henry Box Brown ( Storyworks , Feb./Mar. 2001; Jan. 2016) The Gift of the Magi ( Storyworks , Nov./Dec. 2001; Scope , Dec. 2010) The Girl Who Got Arrested ( Storyworks , Jan./Feb. 2011; Scope , Jan ‘11) The Giving Spirit ( Scholastic News 4 , Dec. 7, 2009) The Legend of Betsy Ross ( Storyworks , Jan. 2002) The Monkey’s Paw ( Scope , April 23, 2012) The Necklace ( Storyworks , Nov./Dec, 2002; Scope , Feb. 14, 2011) The Open Window The Secret Soldier ( Storyworks , Nov./Dec. 2012; Scope , Mar. 11, 2013) The Tell-Tale Heart ( Storyworks , Oct ‘08; Scholastic News 5/6 , Mar 30, ‘09; Scope magazine, Sept ’11) Two Plays from the American Revolution : How Jackie Robinson Changed America ( Storyworks , Oct. 2004) I Have a Dream: The Child- hood of Martin Luther King ( Storyworks , Jan ‘00, Instructor , Jan/Feb ’03) In the Jailhouse with Dr. King Lewis & Clark and Bird Girl ( Storyworks , Nov./Dec. 2003) MLK’s Freedom March [March for Freedom] ( Storyworks , Feb./Mar 2010) Newsies, Scope , Mar. ‘15 (coming soon to TpT) Penelope Ann Poe’s Amazing Cell Phone: Modernized Tell-Tale Heart Peter Rabbit Ponce de Leon & The Fountain of Youth Richard Wright and the Library Card ( Storyworks , Sept. 2001) Rikki Tikki Tavi Eagles Over the Battlefield, A Bell for the Statehouse We Shall Overcome: The Birmingham Children’s Crusade When Leonard Refused to Say the Pledge  2015 by Mack Lewis. All Rights Reserved ReadAloudPlays.com MLK Plays Preview Pack Page 3 of 3 " id="pdf-obj-10-127" src="pdf-obj-10-127.jpg">

A Piece of String (Scope, Nov. 2013) A Retrieved Reformation (Scope, Nov. 2011) Abraham Lincoln: Spies & Rebels

Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (Storyworks Nov./Dec. 1998 ) Cyclops: The Monster in the Cave (Scope, Sept. 2012; Storyworks, Nov./Dec. 2015) Fly Me to the Moon: Apollo Moon Landing Freedom for the First Time: A Slave’s Narrative

Gabriel Grub

Girl. Fighter. Hero: The Story of Sybil

Ludington (Scope, Sept.

2015)

Gogol’s The Nose Gonna Let it Shine [Pigtails & Protests: The Girls Who Marched with Dr. King] (Storyworks, Jan. ’12)

Sitting Down for Dr. King (Storyworks, Jan. 2003; Scholastic Classroom Prod., 2009) Sleepy Hollow (Storyworks, Nov./Dec. 2009; Scope, Oct. 25, 2010) Stolen Childhoods [Worked to the Bone] (Scope, Oct. 31, 2011; Junior Scholastic, Feb 27, 2012) The Baltimore Plot (PLAYS magazine, Jan/Feb

2002)

The Birthmark (Scope, Jan. 12, 2013) The Daring Escape of Henry Box Brown (Storyworks, Feb./Mar. 2001; Jan. 2016) The Gift of the Magi (Storyworks, Nov./Dec. 2001; Scope, Dec. 2010) The Girl Who Got Arrested (Storyworks, Jan./Feb. 2011; Scope, Jan ‘11) The Giving Spirit (Scholastic News 4, Dec. 7, 2009) The Legend of Betsy Ross (Storyworks, Jan. 2002) The Monkey’s Paw (Scope, April 23, 2012) The Necklace (Storyworks, Nov./Dec, 2002; Scope, Feb. 14, 2011)

The Open Window

The Secret Soldier (Storyworks, Nov./Dec. 2012; Scope, Mar. 11, 2013) The Tell-Tale Heart (Storyworks, Oct ‘08; Scholastic News 5/6, Mar 30, ‘09; Scope magazine, Sept ’11) Two Plays from the American Revolution:

P P P l l l a a a y y y s s s bp e , Oct. 25, 2010) Stolen Childhoods [Worked to the Bone] ( Scope , Oct. 31, 2011; Junior Scholastic , Feb 27, 2012) The Baltimore Plot ( PLAYS magazine, Jan/Feb 2002) The Birthmark ( Scope , Jan. 12, 2013) The Daring Escape of Henry Box Brown ( Storyworks , Feb./Mar. 2001; Jan. 2016) The Gift of the Magi ( Storyworks , Nov./Dec. 2001; Scope , Dec. 2010) The Girl Who Got Arrested ( Storyworks , Jan./Feb. 2011; Scope , Jan ‘11) The Giving Spirit ( Scholastic News 4 , Dec. 7, 2009) The Legend of Betsy Ross ( Storyworks , Jan. 2002) The Monkey’s Paw ( Scope , April 23, 2012) The Necklace ( Storyworks , Nov./Dec, 2002; Scope , Feb. 14, 2011) The Open Window The Secret Soldier ( Storyworks , Nov./Dec. 2012; Scope , Mar. 11, 2013) The Tell-Tale Heart ( Storyworks , Oct ‘08; Scholastic News 5/6 , Mar 30, ‘09; Scope magazine, Sept ’11) Two Plays from the American Revolution : How Jackie Robinson Changed America ( Storyworks , Oct. 2004) I Have a Dream: The Child- hood of Martin Luther King ( Storyworks , Jan ‘00, Instructor , Jan/Feb ’03) In the Jailhouse with Dr. King Lewis & Clark and Bird Girl ( Storyworks , Nov./Dec. 2003) MLK’s Freedom March [March for Freedom] ( Storyworks , Feb./Mar 2010) Newsies, Scope , Mar. ‘15 (coming soon to TpT) Penelope Ann Poe’s Amazing Cell Phone: Modernized Tell-Tale Heart Peter Rabbit Ponce de Leon & The Fountain of Youth Richard Wright and the Library Card ( Storyworks , Sept. 2001) Rikki Tikki Tavi Eagles Over the Battlefield, A Bell for the Statehouse We Shall Overcome: The Birmingham Children’s Crusade When Leonard Refused to Say the Pledge  2015 by Mack Lewis. All Rights Reserved ReadAloudPlays.com MLK Plays Preview Pack Page 3 of 3 " id="pdf-obj-10-249" src="pdf-obj-10-249.jpg">

How Jackie Robinson Changed America (Storyworks, Oct. 2004) I Have a Dream: The Child- hood of Martin Luther King (Storyworks, Jan ‘00, Instructor, Jan/Feb ’03) In the Jailhouse with Dr. King Lewis & Clark and Bird Girl (Storyworks, Nov./Dec. 2003) MLK’s Freedom March [March for Freedom] (Storyworks, Feb./Mar 2010) Newsies, Scope, Mar. ‘15 (coming soon to TpT) Penelope Ann Poe’s Amazing Cell Phone:

Modernized Tell-Tale Heart

Peter Rabbit

Ponce de Leon & The Fountain of Youth

Richard Wright and the Library Card (Storyworks, Sept. 2001) Rikki Tikki Tavi

Eagles Over the Battlefield, A Bell for the Statehouse We Shall Overcome: The Birmingham Children’s Crusade When Leonard Refused to Say the Pledge