In the Jailhouse with Dr. King Black History Reader's Theater Script

In the Jailhouse with Dr. King Black

History Reader's Theater Script


7 - 8


English Language Arts

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Imagine if your first encounter with Martin Luther King took place behind bars. In the Jailhouse with Dr. King is set during the Montgomery Bus Boycott and is loosely based on King’s own writing about his first incarceration. It tells the story of a 13-year-old African-American boy’s struggles with violence and racism in 1956 Alabama. While in jail for a short while, he questions the wisdom of King’s commitment to peace. Later, when an angry crowd gathers outside King’s bombed home, the boy witnesses firsthand the depth of Dr. King’s beliefs and the power of his words.  This six page, twenty minute classroom play script is suitable for reader’s theater or stage performance and can be adapted to include music from the Civil Rights Movement. From seven to fourteen parts, use it with students in grades 4 through 8 to improve fluency, build comprehension, and engage learners. Includes comprehension activity and key. Fully reproducible: the original purchaser is licensed to reproduce one classroom set per year. See these and many other Civil Rights/Black History plays from long time Scholastic playwright Mack Lewis at

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