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The Best MLK Movies for Kids

If you are looking for great movies to watch during the MLK holiday or Black History month, you'll want to check out these Best MLK Movies for Kids.

As the MLK holiday approaches, your kids are likely out of school. He was a very important figure in the civil rights movement.

Here are some great educational titles about Martin Luther King, Jr. that you can watch on your day off. 

Due to the nature of the content that might be included in any movie about MLK or civil rights, there aren't many that would be considered kid-friendly across the board. Families can expect to hear many uses of the “N” word and other racial slurs.

Issues Martin Luther King. Jr. Tackled

  • voter rights
  • civil rights
  • racism
  • segregation

MLK Movies for Kids

MLK movies typically focus on the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., one of the key figures in the American Civil Rights Movement. These films delve into his inspirational leadership, nonviolent activism, and the struggles for racial equality, offering a poignant look at the challenges and triumphs of the civil rights era.

At the time of his assassination in 1968, his four children were 5, 7, 11 and 13.

Whether you have an African-American family, a White family, or are from another country, these are great educational titles to learn about the events that changed American history.
Our Friend Martin
  • English (Publication Language)

Our Friend, Martin

This animated special, inspired by the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., posits the question of what the 20th century, particularly the 1990s, would have been like if the famed Civil Rights leader had lived.

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Selma, Lord, Selma

Eleven-year-old Sheyann Webb becomes an instrument of change in 1965 Alabama in this riveting and sometimes heartbreaking drama based on real events concerning a dark segment of American history: segregation.

As the Rev. Martin Luther King sweeps through the countryside trying to register voters (including African-American women), Sheyann finds out just how oppressed her community (including her family members) truly is.

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Common Sense Media recommends this movie for kids 13+. Check out their review.

In the face of violent racist attacks, Martin Luther King Jr. leads a protest in Alabama that culminates in a historic march from Selma to Montgomery. This movie also won an Academy Award for Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song.

Recommended discussion points from Common Sense Media

  • Families can talk about why Martin Luther King Jr. is one of the most influential people of the 20th century. What is the lasting legacy of the civil rights movement? How have things changed since 1965 when Selma takes place? How haven't they?
  • How do the lessons from the civil rights movement apply today? Are people still discriminated against? How can that be remedied? What methods could kids today use to protest injustice? What are the differences between a protest and a riot? How does the media typically depict protests?
  • How does Selma promote courage and integrity? What about self-control and perseverance? Why are these important character strengths?
  • Why are voters' rights still in the news?
  • Are you interested in learning more about civil rights and how they're still being fought for in the United States? How could you do that?
  • Some have criticized Selma for bending the truth in the way certain figures in the movie are portrayed — particularly President Johnson. Why might filmmakers not adhere strictly to the facts? Do you think that undermines the movie's message in any way? How could you find out more about the actual events and people portrayed in the film?

If you want to keep the learning going with your kids, click on the image of the MLK statue below to get access to these free Martin Luther King, Jr. printables.

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Short Movies about MLK for Kids

The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – MLK Day!

This kid-friendly video on the life of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. uses animation, music, and narration to share Martin's vision for the world and his powerful legacy of non-violence and equality for all people.

The King and His Dream

This was a great school project completed by a very talented kid.

A Kid Explains History

There's a YouTube channel by 11-year-old “Mr. Q,” who discovered that at an early age and has spent the last couple of years making these fun, informative videos with his dad. Episode 12. The 3rd Monday of January is a federal holiday called Martin Luther King Jr Day.

Think you know all there is to know about Dr. King? Do you know what Jim Crow Laws were and how they got their name? Or how about what part Mahatma Gandhi played in all this? Let Mister Q fill you in.

Scholastic Storybook Treasures – March On! The Day My Brother Martin Changed the World

You can get the Scholastic Storybook DVD which features – 4 true stories on one DVD including March On!: The Day My Brother Martin Changed the World, Mar's Big Words, Rosa (about Rosa Parks' bus boycott), and Henry's Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad (the story of a slave from Virginia who escaped to freedom by arranging to have himself mailed in a wooden crate to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania).

In “The Day My Brother Martin Changed the World,” Martin Luther King Jr.'s sister travels back to 1963 to present a personal, stirring account of the remarkable day when Dr. King delivered the I HAVE A DREAM speech.

MLK Day Legacy: Ruby Bridges

Civil rights leader Ruby Bridges remembers integrating the New Orleans school system in 1960 and the lessons of racial justice that her teacher and Dr. King taught. She urges Americans to honor Dr. King's legacy of service by volunteering on MLK Day.

To continue learning, check out the Ruby Bridges Movie Study.

RELATED:  Are There Any Martin Luther King Jr Movies on Netflix?

If you want to continue digging deeper, be sure to check out these children's books.  

If you enjoyed this list of movies, I have a monthly membership for parents and educators that want to teach or supplement lessons with shows and movies.

“I absolutely love sharing movies with my kids as a way to teach them valuable lessons. It's like this awesome bonding experience where we all snuggle up on the couch with some popcorn, and I get to see their little faces light up with curiosity. Whether it's a classic with timeless morals or a new animated flick with hidden gems of wisdom, it's a fantastic way to impart important life lessons in a fun and engaging way. Plus, the post-movie discussions are priceless – hearing their take on the characters and the story adds a whole new dimension to our family time.” –a Homeschooling parent

With Homeschooling with Shows and Movies membership, you will get resources every month, including:

  • List of This Month’s Suggested Themes
  • List of Monthly Observances
  • List Of Movies for Unit Study
  • Unit Study Resource
  • Seasonal Activities (minimum of three)
  • (BONUSES) Resources for you, the teacher

These resources are worth it if you'd like to easily incorporate shows and movies into your homeschooling.

Grab your membership here.

Keep the learning going:

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