About a dozen students and faculty gathered outside the University of Louisville’s Student Activity Center on Tuesday. They held large blue signs with the words of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “Beyond Vietnam: A Time To Break Silence” speech written on them.
Tuesday marks the 50th anniversary of that speech at Riverside Church in New York. It’s also the 10th anniversary of the Anne Braden Institute for Social Justice Research.
Nia Holt, 24, is a U of L graduate student studying urban planning and public administration. Holt said students are commemorating King’s speech because some things haven’t changed since.
“And we wanted to call attention to those things,” she said. “And teach people about those words and encourage them to act upon them.”
King’s speech decried the Vietnam War and American militarism. He was condemned by many for it.
Kelly Weaver is a graduate student in women’s and gender studies.
“It’s a speech that for me I didn’t really know about for a long time and a lot of people haven’t heard this speech,” she said. “It’s not the speech that fits into the pacified mainstream MLK.”
Logan Muse, 18, is also a U of L student.
“I think some of our pressing issues as of now,” Muse said, “you know a rollback of laws protecting people of color. Islamophobia — that’s starting to be more and more prevalent. We have all this discussion about the transgender bathroom issue.”
King gave the speech one year to the day before he was assassinated in Memphis.