1968 MLK Observance Exhibit

Background

In April of 1968, MIT cancels classes to join the nation in mourning the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King. 

MIT begins its annual commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1975, seven years after his assassination. A year later, Martin Luther King Day becomes a designated Institute holiday, in 1976, a decade before its first official observance as a federal holiday. 

 

Headline in The Tech, 9 Apr 1968

 

Recalling MLK’s Time in Cambridge

From "Recalling MLK’s Time in Cambridge" by Jay London, Slice of MIT, 22 January 2019

While [Martin Luther King, Jr.] never made a public appearance at MIT, he was a common visitor to Cambridge from the 1950s—when he was a doctoral student at Boston University—until the mid-1960s. King took philosophy courses at Harvard in 1952 and 1953 and he was a guest preacher at Harvard’s Memorial Church in 1959 and 1960. At MIT, King’s name appears regularly in issues of The Tech in the 1960s. The archives at the King Center museum also include two letters to King from the MIT/Harvard Joint Center for Urban Studies that discuss the center’s Social Statistics in the City conference that took place in June 1967. According to a video by MIT Productions, King’s death directly led to, among other endeavors, the formation of the MIT Black Students' Union and the creation of Interphase (now Interphase EDGE),  a seven-week summer program that prepared incoming students for the rigors of MIT.

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Exhibit at the MIT Student Center, 1968

Images courtesy of MIT Museum