MLK Day: In 1964 Martin Luther King Jr. Gave A Speech In Maine
In 1964, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was invited to speak at a Maine college. He accepted the invitation.
At Bowdoin College in Brunswick, a student group, Bowdoin Political Forum, invited black civil rights leaders to campus for lectures on the topic of civil rights. Among those who were invited was Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. King accepted the offer, and was scheduled to speak on May 6.
His lecture was to take place on campus at Pickard Theater. However, word spread quickly of the civil rights leader's appearance. With the anticipation of a huge crowd, the college knew they would need a bigger venue. King's speech was moved just off campus to the First Parish Church. The overflow crowd totaled about 1,100 attendees.
According to Bowdoin College, King spoke for an hour on the topics of civil rights and the vital need to end segregation and discrimination in America. The whole speech was broadcast on the campus radio station WBOR. Recordings of the lecture went missing for many years, until an archivist at the school found them in a box of uncatalogued station recordings.
The King Center in Atlanta, Georgia holds to rights to the recordings, but allowed Bowdoin to make the audio available to the public on their website. You can listen to his full address here.