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Dr. Martin Luther King’s Penn State Speech

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr speaking with President Lyndon B. Johnson.Penn State is still very much in the weekend– the university is closed for Martin Luther King Day. Gandhi’s grandson will be speaking here on Wednesday in honor of MLK, who incidentally once gave a speech at Penn State.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr spoke to a crowd of about 8,000 people in Rec Hall on January 21, 1965. (That was 44 years ago… BHO is our 44th President. Coincidence? Ask the tabloids. In any case, here’s a picture from the LIFE archives of King speaking with President Lyndon B. Johnson.)

We found the entire text of his speech hidden within the Penn State website.

Here are some significant excerpts:

My basic theme for the evening is that we have come a long, long way in the struggle for racial justice, but we have a long, long way to go before the problem is solved.

That reminds me of that time Obama said, “You know, Dr. King once said that the arc of the moral universe is long, but that it bends toward justice.”

There is nothing more tragic than to build a society with a segment of people in that society who feel they have no stake in it, who feel that they have nothing to lose, who walk around the streets day in and day out with no jobs, who walk the streets day in and day out feeling that life is little more than a long and desolate corridor with no exit sign. These are the people who will riot. These are the people who have lost a sense of hope and out of despair turn to the methods that we all abhor. And so economic justice must become a reality in order to meet and solve all of the social problems that we face today.

TOMORROW: PRESIDENT HOPE. I just love when history overlaps like that.
MLK ended his Penn State speech with this.

With this faith, we will be able to speed up the day when all of God’s children all over this nation, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics will be able to join hands and sing in the world of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty, we are free at last.”

That’s the same ending he used for his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial.

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About the Author


Creator of @OnwardState. Big fan of sweaters.

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