University Remembers Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s 1965 Visit and Acceptance of Honorary Doctorate
Martin Luther King Accepts Honorary Degree From College –
More than 500 persons jammed into the oppressively hot Dinneen Auditorium September 21, at 11:00 a.m. to hear Dr. Martin Luther King describe his American Dream.
Dr. King spoke after receiving the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws and Letters during the annual Michaelmas Convocation. Amid the popping of flashbulbs and the grinding of television cameras, Dr. King declared the American Dream of all men being created equal has, as yet been unfulfilled. He denounced segregation as sinful and bitterly condemned those who profess principals of democracy but in truth practice the antithesis these principles.
The civil rights leader termed segregation an “anemic demon” and said the price of it would be our own destruction. He declared the United States must act now to destroy it before it is too late.
Dr. King’s dream includes not only equal rights for all in the United States, but also a world wide brotherhood. He said unless we live as brothers we shall perish as fools.
Turning back to the civil rights issue, Dr. King urged “massive action programs to end the long night of segregation and discrimination.” He said civil rights action would not be confined to the South but would be expanded to the North.
He said every northern city would become a powder keg unless the tensions brought on by de facto segregation were relieved.
Dr. King destroyed the myth that all that was needed to get Negroes their equal rights was time and that the civil rights movement should move more slowly.
“The time is always now,” he declared.
Dr. King emphasized the fact that legislation is an important part in the civil rights battle. He said that although legislation could not change a person’s ideas, it could regulate his behavior and restrain the heartlessness.
Citing his own non-violent forms of resistance, he condemned violence and said it created more problems than it solved. He branded civil rights violence a tragic method which would lead to meaningless chaos. Despite the current problems Dr. King reaffirmed his faith in the future: “Although some will be scared, lose jobs and be called bad names, our problems will be solved. We shall overcome.”
He foresees a world in which there will be a symphony of brotherhood. A world, “where all of god’s children, white and black, Protestant and Catholic, Jew and Gentile, will be free at last.”
Posted from: Pauw Wow
(Saint Peter’s Student Newspaper)
October 1, 1965
By Ray Martignoni