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Yale has a long tradition of celebrating Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s legacy. On January 14, 1959, King spoke to a full house in Woolsey Hall about the future of integration and the civil rights movement and celebrated his 30th birthday the following day on campus. He spoke again at Battell Chapel three years later, on January 14, 1962. In 1964, Yale presented King with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree. His honorary degree citation read, “As your eloquence has kindled the nation’s sense of outrage, so your steadfast refusal to countenance violence in resistance to injustice has heightened our sense of national shame. When outrage and shame together shall one day have vindicated the promise of legal, social, and economic opportunity for all citizens, the gratitude of peoples everywhere and of generations of Americans yet unborn will echo our admiration.”

Yale University will honor the life and work of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with celebrations and services on campus and in the New Haven community. This year’s theme, “Courage, Conflict and Creative Maladjustment: Speaking Truth to Power Across Generations” reflects some of Dr. King’s core principles for activism. This year’s events aim to revitalize the Yale and New Haven communities’ spirit of service while also providing an opportunity for education and unity in harrowing times, with events such as the annual Day of Service, the the Yale Peabody Museum’s programs on environmental and social justice, and a keynote address by civil rights pioneer Diane Nash. Please explore this website for more information and join us throughout January to honor the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Video of Martin Luther King Jr. speaking at Yale in 1959