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Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. & U Of M - A U Of M Archivist Recalls King's Historic Visit

Jan 15, 2018

King at the Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C
Credit Wikimedia Commons

On this Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, we're recalling a visit the iconic civil rights leader made to the University of Michigan over fifty years ago.


Dr. King was welcomed by thousands at the Hill Auditorium on November 5th, 1962.  University of Michigan archivist Brian Williams says Dr. King's speech called for federal officials to address the racial inequality at that time in the country.

Williams says that visit influenced future human rights movements in Washtenaw County.

“The message still resonates, and I think it's at the core of all of these things going back to the Black Action Movement here, the first B.A.M. in the 1970's, to being black at U of M, Black Student Union,” says Williams.

Williams added that when Dr. King spoke on campus, only a few hundred black students were enrolled at the University of Michigan.

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— Jorge Avellan is a reporter for 89.1 WEMU News. Contact him at 734.487.3363 or email him javellan@emich.edu