Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy at SMU

On March 17, 1966, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke to a standing room only audience in SMU’s McFarlin Auditorium after accepting an invitation from the SMU Student Senate.

The event was closed to the public, but faculty and students filled the balcony and spilled into the aisles of the 2,700-seat auditorium.

According to former student senator Charles Cox, “He spoke for about 60 minutes, and he didn’t have a single note.”

“To meet him was a highlight of my life and even more so as time and years passed,” said Jerry LeVias, SMU Distinguished Alumnus and the first black scholarship football player to compete in the Southwest Conference. “It was sort of like being mentored by one of the greatest men who ever lived.”

Hear the audio recording of the historic speech Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered at SMU in 1966.

Listen to the full speech:

Listen to the full speech:

As long as injustice is around, it will be necessary to bring that injustice to the surface.

— Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at SMU, March 17, 1966

Dr. Turner and Vice President Mmeje aboard a float at the 2018 MLK parade in downtown Dallas.
SMU President R. Gerald Turner and Vice President for Student Affairs K.C. Mmeje aboard a float at the 2018 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade in downtown Dallas.

Dream Week

Dream Week, hosted by the Social Change and Intercultural Engagement Department at SMU, is an annual celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that kicks off with SMU’s participation in the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade hosted by the City of Dallas.

Students, faculty, staff and community members are invited to participate in events happening this week, including the annual Unity Walk with President R. Gerald Turner.

Dr. King plaque dedication ceremony – Feb. 21

Join the North Texas community as SMU dedicates a Texas Historical Marker honoring King’s historic campus address at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 21, in McFarlin Auditorium.  The surrounding community is invited to celebrate the event with SMU students, faculty, staff and alumni. The Rev. Richie Butler, SMU alumnus, member of the University’s Board of Trustees, and pastor of St. Luke Community UMC will be featured, speaking on the legacy and long-term impact of King’s visit to the campus.



President Turner Remembers MLK

January 2018 — Dr. R. Gerald Turner addresses students at SMU’s annual Unity Walk with a thoughtful tribute to Martin Luther King Jr’s legacy that included highlights of King’s speech at SMU in 1966.



Dr. Mmeje Connects Students to MLK Legacy

January 2018 — SMU’s K.C. Mmeje participates in his first Unity Walk as vice president for Student Affairs. He speaks about how Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. impacted his life, and he hones in on the values of MLK that still serve us today.

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