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7 Apps for Kids to Learn About the Civil Rights Movement and Martin Luther King Jr.

From a recording of MLK's 'I Have a Dream' speech to an app that lets kids ride with Rosa Parks, we round up the best tech-fueled teaching tools

Published on: January 16, 2014

Collage of apps for Martin Luther King Jr. Day

When you and your kids reach for the mobile devices to unwind over the long MLK Day weekend, consider taking a break from trying to get to the next level in Candy Crush Saga. Instead, take a moment to put those phones and iPads to good use with these six apps to help your family commemorate the civil rights leader.

Hear from Martin Luther King Jr. himself with famous quotes and full speeches, play games, and read stories to start talking to your kids about race and the civil rights movement.

 

First: The Alabama Civil Rights Trail


The Alabama Civil Rights Trail

Part travel app and part retrospective, the free Alabama Civil Rights Trail app features biographies of Martin Luther King Jr. and other historical figures of the Civil Rights Movement. The app includes high-quality photos of famous faces and places in Alabama. Even if you’re not planning a trip to the South any time soon, browsing the app’s civil rights timeline can spark some important conversations with your kids about MLK’s life and even current events.

Free: iPhone/iPad; Google Play

quickquotes cartoon app icon Next: Martin Luther King Jr. QuickQuotes 


quotes app icon for mlk quotes

Martin Luther King Jr. QuickQuotes

MLK Quotes is a simple app that can make a big impact.

Memorable quotes from Martin Luther King Jr. can be quickly and easily browsed, and with just a few taps, you can share your favorite quotes through Twitter or Facebook.

You can even select the font and background image to create a unique, personal quote to post on your Instagram account.

iPhone/iPad, $0.99

Martin Luther King Jr. Speech App iconNext: Martin Luther King Jr.'s Speech


Martin Luther King Jr. App Icon black and white

Martin Luther King Jr.’s Speech

This is not an app per se, but for everyone in your family who hasn’t yet heard Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous I Have a Dream speech, these portals allow you to witness history.

First, you and your children can listen to a very high-quality audio recording of the speech here. Then, to really get a view into the moment, watch a video here (the quality of the speech is lower, but you get to see Dr. King in action).

riding with rosa parks app icon Next: Riding with Rosa Parks


 

Black woman and child on the bus smiling talking about Rosa Parks cartoon app iconRiding With Rosa Parks

This free app doesn’t have the bells and whistles of most storybook apps — there are no interactive elements or voice narration — but Riding With Rosa Parks imparts an important lesson.

The story tells a kid-friendly version of history and how just one person, Rosa Parks, made a huge difference.

If your school-age children have questions about segregation and the Civil Rights Movement, this app is a good place to start.

iPhone/iPad, Free

Next: Then and Now: Black History


 

Then and Now: Black History

This searchable list of 100 notable figures in black history includes Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Maya Angelou, and many more. Learn about the people who shaped black history and the Civil Rights Movement and are still making an impact today. A small biography and quick link to related YouTube videos make it a snap to find speeches from MLK, Billie Holiday singing with Louis Armstrong, the night President Barack Obama won the election, and more. 

iPhone/iPad, $1.99

 

who am I app icon

 

Next: Who Am I? Race Awareness Game


question mark with faces of all different skin colors races who am i app iconWho Am I? Race Awareness Game

Race and ethnicity might be difficult topics to broach with your young kids, and it’s hard to know where to begin.

This two-player game is a thought-provoking way to start talking about them together. The game is played with one player choosing a photo, and then the guesser asks yes or no questions to narrow down who was selected. The guesser then learns about the person in the photo and how they identify themselves. The app also includes invaluable tips for parents on how to start conversations about race that go beyond the game.

iPhone/iPad, Free

Next: GoExplore Martine Luther King Jr. National Historic Site 


 

GoExplore Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site

 Virtually explore the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site in Atlanta with this tour guide app. Even if you can’t go there in person, you can discover and explore notable landmarks through this app. Select locations on the map to watch videos hosted by site rangers. Videos also include up-close looks at the historic sites, including photos and film footage related to the location.  

 iPhone/iPad, $0.99

Read Next: Cultural Intelligence: What's Your Child's Global IQ?

Plus: More app lists, and the latest on kids & media

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