Hawk Tales: Remembering MLK at Iowa
This past spring marked 50 years since the death of the legendary civil rights leaders. Iowa Journalist recalls his unforgettable campus visit.
It’s been half a century since the death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., but his speeches still echo in the nation’s heart today.
On Nov. 11, 1959, King visited his profound voice and presence upon the University of Iowa in a speech delivered to an overflow crowd at the Iowa Memorial Union. In that address, he discussed the state of the country’s civil rights movement and spoke of the 1954 legislation that abolished segregation in schools. In that unmistakable voice of conviction and calm, he said:
“We find ourselves standing on the threshold of the most constructive and creative period in the development of race relations in the history of our nation. To state it figuratively in biblical language: We have broken loose from the Egypt of slavery, we have moved through the wilderness of separate but equal, and now we stand on the border of the promise land of integration and economic reprises.”
While some statements remain specific to the time period in which he spoke, others still offer deep meaning and perspective to the times we live in today. Said King: “We now find ourselves attempting to live our lives in monologue instead of dialogue.”
King was assassinated on April 4, 1968, as he stood on a balcony at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis.
Hear the full IMU speech at https://dsps.lib.uiowa.edu/sixties. Read more about MLK’s campus visit in our Daily Iowan feature on p. 14.