California State University, Sacramento Sacramento State Leader

Hornet Family gathers to honor MLK’s campus visit and legacy

MLK Unity March Half a century has passed since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. graced Sacramento State with his personal power and transformative oratory, but a celebration on Monday, Oct. 16, of the great civil rights leader’s 1967 visit reawakened some of the spirit that infused his campus appearance.

The University reverberated with energy generated by events meant to bring King’s visit out of the hazy realm of things remembered and into the bright light of a current shared experience. The gathered throngs who participated in the 50th anniversary celebration did so with community leaders showing the way and with their own feet, voices, and hearts.

Noted King scholar, lecturer, and PBS host Tavis Smiley captured the emotion of the occasion with his oratory, drawing combined crowds of more than 3,000 to noontime and evening keynote addresses. A Unity March, a movie screening, workshops, and a panel discussion featuring another King stalwart, Stanford Professor Clayborne Carson, helped turn the day into a soaring platform meant to carry a message of empathy, equality, and justice – themes carried with such force by King throughout his career.

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