Lessons from the trip Martin Luther King Jr. took to Michigan State University in 1965

King visited school at time when nation was still gripped by racism and segregation

A look back at MLK's visit to MSU
A look back at MLK's visit to MSU

DETROIT – On this Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, many will remember that Detroit was the rehearsal for the civil rights icon’s I Have a Dream speech.

Not much is known about the two visits Dr. King made to Michigan State University in the 1960s.

However, there are two people who remember his message very well about the social justice climate then and now.

King visited the school on Feb. 11, 1965.

The icon was brought to the university by then faculty member Robert Green to address 4,000 students.

Gene Washington, a sophomore athlete in his 20s at the time was in the audience.

“So Dr. King’s visit meant so much to me,” said Washington.

This was at a time when the nation was still gripped by racism and segregation.

Dr. King spoke passionately about achieving a world brotherhood perspective, abolishing the notion of superior and inferior races, and ridding the world of segregation.

“The fight for freedom must go on and on. Don’t let the bullies with the rifles and shotguns intimidate you,” said Dr. Green.

And both Dr. Green who is now 87 and Washington, 76, more than 50 years later believe that much of what King spoke about in that speech is still being fought for today.

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About the Authors:

Natasha Dado is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit.