When Martin Luther King Jr. visited Brandeis

martin luther kingPhoto/Robert D. Farber University Archives and Special Collections Department

Martin Luther King Jr. during a visit to Brandeis.

Listen to King's "Justice without Violence" lecture. [AUDIO TRANSCRIPT]

While Martin Luther King Jr. is honored nationwide every third Monday in January with a federal holiday that bears his name, his legacy as a civil rights activist holds a particularly special place at Brandeis.

MLK visited campus twice, in 1957 and 1963, to lecture about justice, nonviolence and racism in America. An assortment of photographs belonging to Brandeis’ Robert D. Farber University Archives and Special Collections Department not only captures poignant moments from his talks, but also illustrates King’s eagerness to engage Brandeis students, faculty and administrators, including founding president Abram Sachar, at the newly-established university.

He first spoke on campus April 3, 1957 as part of the Helmsley Lectures, a six-part lecture series addressing race relations. His talk was entitled “Justice without Violence” and addressed the segregation crisis in the south and his theory and practice of nonviolent resistance.

His second visit to Brandeis came Feb. 25, 1963 – shortly before his historic March on Washington.

Brandeis also honors MLK today with the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Fellowship, which is awarded annually to 10 first-years on the basis of their academic performance and extracurricular participation in high school, outstanding community involvement and financial need.

The fellowship was the result of a request to former president Sachar by students participating in the 1969 Ford Hall protests. Though the students asked for a scholarship to be given annually in King’s name to five African-American first-years, Sachar ultimately agreed to annually award 10.

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