Sixty-six years ago this month, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. visited Caltech as part of the Caltech Y’s Leaders of America program, urging students to “rise above the narrow confines of individual concerns to the broad concerns of all humanity.”
By Jennifer Torres Siders/Caltech
During his visit, February 25–27, 1958, King gave three talks to the Caltech and Pasadena communities. He also met with members of the Associated Students of Caltech (ASCIT) and Interhouse Committee (IHC); dined at Dabney, Blacker, Fleming, and Ricketts houses; and held daily office hours at the Caltech Y. At the Athenaeum, King’s keynote address, “Progress in Race Relations,” drew an estimated 200 audience members.
By 1958, the then-29-year-old King had already risen to national prominence for his leadership of the Montgomery bus boycott and for his philosophy of nonviolence.
“We must have active commitment rather than mere academic acceptance if we are going to solve the racial problems that face America today,” King told one audience at Dabney Hall.
In an interview with the students’ newspaper, The California Tech, King said there were four things a Caltech student should do to address racism and segregation: “He should seek to give impetus to movements and to influence political leaders. He should seek to solve local problems. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. He should give support, both moral and financial, to freedom fighters everywhere. … And finally, he should help to educate himself and
This article first appeared on Caltech.edu website. It has been updated and edited for clarity and brevity.
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