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UB to honor 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s visit to Buffalo

Martin Luther King Jr. speaks at Kleinhans Music Hall. King's visit to Buffalo was sponsored by UB's undergraduate and Graduate Student associations. Photo: UB Archives

By MARCENE ROBINSON

Published November 6, 2017

Nearly 50 years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. traveled to Buffalo to deliver a historic speech on racial integration.

On Thursday, UB will honor his visit with MLK@Buffalo, a commemoration of the 50th anniversary of King’s UB-sponsored speech at Kleinhans Music Hall.

The event, free and open to the public, invites scholars and prominent figures from the UB and Buffalo communities — including an attendee of the 1967 visit — to reflect on specific passages from King’s speech delivered decades ago.

The program will take place from 3:30-5 p.m. Nov. 9 in the Student Union Theater on the North Campus. A reception will follow in 201 Student Union.

Guest speakers include:

  • Ruth Bryant, an attendee of King’s 1967 speech and retired assistant dean, UB School of Architecture and Planning.
  • Devonya Havis, associate professor, Department of Philosophy, Canisius College.
  • Scott Hollander, associate director, UB Libraries.
  • George Nicholas, senior pastor, Lincoln Memorial United Methodist Church.
  • Leslie Veloz, president, UB undergraduate Student Association.
  • Victoria Wolcott, professor and chair, Department of History, UB College of Arts and Sciences

The discussion will be hosted by Teresa Miller, professor and vice provost for inclusive excellence, and Austin Booth, vice provost for the University Libraries.

MLK@Buffalo is sponsored by the UB Office of Inclusive Excellence, UB Libraries and the UB Intercultural and Diversity Center.

“The audience will hear passages from Dr. King’s historic address in his rich, resonant voice, and be challenged by the speakers to grasp the relevance of Dr. King’s message to the structural racism, segregation and poverty that continue to plague Buffalo and the nation,” Miller says.

King’s address, titled “The Future of Integration,” was delivered on Nov. 9, 1967; it would be his final speech in Buffalo. During the visit, which was sponsored by the UB Student and Graduate Student associations, the renowned civil rights activist touched on both the Vietnam War and poverty.

A collection of photos and audio of the speech reside in the UB Libraries for academic study. The images are available for viewing in the UB Libraries Digital Collections.