A Time to Break Silence: The Essential Works of Martin Luther King, Jr., for Students

Walter Dean Myers

A Time to Break Silence coverThe first collection of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s essential writings for high school students and young people—with eighteen selections including "I Have a Dream," "Letter from Birmingham Jail," and "What Is Your Life's Blueprint?"

"In your life's blueprint should be a deep belief in your own dignity, your own worth, and your own somebodiness. Don't allow anybody to make you feel that you are nobody.…However young you are, you have a responsibility to seek to make your nation a better nation in which to live. You have a responsibility to seek to make life better for everybody. And so you must be involved in the struggle for freedom and justice." —from "What Is Your Life's Blueprint?"

“[Students] are in reality standing up for the best in the American dream. . . . One day historians will record this student movement as one of the most significant epics of our heritage.” —from “The Time for Freedom Has Come”

A Time to Break Silence presents the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s most important writings and speeches-carefully selected by teachers across a variety of disciplines—in an accessible and user-friendly volume for students. Arranged thematically in six parts, the collection includes eighteen selections and is introduced by award-winning author Walter Dean Myers. Included are some of Dr. King's most well-known and frequently taught classic works, like "Letter from Birmingham Jail" and "I Have a Dream," as well as lesser-known pieces such as "The Sword that Heals" and "What Is Your Life's Blueprint?," which speak to issues young people face today.

Teachers Guide and companion curriculum developed by the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute at Stanford University available online through www.thekinglegacy.org/teachers.


"Dr. King believed that the future of America was in the hearts and minds of its youth. He saw the fulfillment of of his vision of our country in engaging young people in building and maintaining doctrines of fairness. And American youth, both black and white, understood and responded to him." -Walter Dean Myers, from the introduction