Martin Luther King Jr. Visited Michigan State University in 1965
The man who sparked a revolution in our nation's history made a stop at the campus of Michigan State University in February of 1965.
His appearance was a major campus event, and more than 4,000 students and community residents showed up to hear him speak. It was standing room only, and still the Auditorium was so packed full of people wanting to listen to the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. that the overflow crowd filled up the Fairchild Theater.
King's stop at Michigan State University, according to MSU's Archives, was to help drive the All University Student Government-sponsored Student Education Program, better known as STEP.
The STEP program was one of the first of its kind in the country. The program also helped send out both student, faculty and volunteers to Rust College of Hot Springs, Mississippi.
Here are a few of the areas that the program focused:
- MSU faculty became summer term instructors at Rust College as well as lead seminars and workshops open to the college's faculty.
- MSU program members served on a research team to aid in the compilation of a Rust College history for the school's centennial in 1966.
- The Rust College library received aid in organizing and cataloguing its holdings.
- Computer programmers helped the business office reorganize itself and maintain the school's business files.
- Miscellaneous programs providing art, music, drama, and recreational activities was developed as cooperative programs between the college and community.
King's appearance was to help raise money for the project. Not even a day after the tickets to the event went on sale back in February of 1965, King was in an Alabama jail because of his work integration work in that city.
In his speech at MSU, King laid out three things that must be done for people to survive:
"First, people must achieve a world brotherhood perspective. Second, the notion of superior and inferior races must be abolished. And last, massive action programs must be developed to rid the world of segregation."
More on Martin Luther King Jr.'s appearance at Michigan State University and audio from his lecture can be found here.