On October 12, 1964, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke to a standing room only audience on the campus of Saint Louis Univeristy (SLU). In his speech King advocated for the establishment of just laws that would alter the habits of citizens and, over time, transform their attitudes. This challenging message is as relevant today as it was in 1964. But King's visit also marked an historical moment in the history of SLU and the wider community. His speech was delivered at a time when then President Paul Reinert, S.J. was advocating for the admission of African-American students to the Univeristy and was arguing to keep SLU in the city of Saint Louis.
April 4, 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr (MLK). The life and legacy of MLK is certainly still felt within the United States and abroad, and has been the impetus behind many social movements where civil rights have been at stake. Given the historical significance of MLK, his role in the history of SLU, and the intentionality of our Univeristy to invoke critical discourse and implement actionable steps toward a more just and civil world, we will be hosting a symposium on the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. to be hosted by SLU during its Bicentennial year. Our Jesuit values as men and women for and with others, our diverse student population, and the communities that surround SLU render this opportunity as not only meaningful, but necessary as an indicator of our pledge to social justice and acedemic diversity. MLK's life speaks to the ways in which these two realities come together toward the establishment of a world that reflects the Kingdom of God.