In honor of Martin Luther King Jr., we look back to when he came to Columbia in 1961 and addressed our community and neighbors at the invitation of The Columbia Owl, a then-weekly publication of Columbia's School of General Studies. Dr. King spoke about two campaigns: voter registration drive for Black voters, and urging President Kennedy to outlaw segregation in federal programs. Dr. King inspired Columbians and community members to sit in, stand up, and speak out.
Today we look back to when he came to Columbia on October 27, 1961. Dr. King addressed a group of students, faculty and members of the community at the McMillan Theatre (now the Miller Theatre) at the invitation of The Columbia Owl, a then-weekly publication of the School of General Studies.
King’s visit to campus came at a time when the Civil Rights movement was frustrated with the lack of action by both the White House and Congress in the first year of Kennedy’s administration. The Civil Rights movement was in a period of uncertainty, said Ira Katznelson, a professor of history at Columbia.