Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“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.”

- citation from the honorary doctor of laws degree from Yale awarded to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1964 by Yale president Kingman Brewster Jr. 


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James Meredith Monument Mississippi
  • A Special Yale Alumni Academy Travel Program

On The Road To Freedom: Understanding the Civil Rights Movement

On this custom designed travel program taking place October 23 - 30, 2022, you'll trace the history of the Civil Rights movement, with Yale Professor Crystal Feimster. Visit the major sites of the movement—from Alabama to Mississippi to Arkansas, and Tennessee.

The Kings at Yale

King at Yale

In 1964, The New York Times covered the story of Dr. King 's honorary degree from Yale. "The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. received a standing ovation today from 10,000 persons at Yale University's 263d commencement. The tribute came as the 35 year‐old Negro leader received an honorary doctor of laws degree from Kingman Brewster Jr., president of Yale."

Continue reading in The NY Times archive

Martin Luther King Jr.

This article, authored by Judith Ann Schiff, chief research archivist at the Yale University Library, appeared in Yale Alumni Magazine in 2004. "In June 1964, when the news came out that Martin Luther King Jr. had been bailed out of jail to receive an honorary degree at Yale, the Minneapolis Tribune editorialized on “Yale’s Good Example.” The Hartford Courant declared that “it was a good day for the Rev. Martin Luther King. It was an..."

Continue reading in Yale Alumni Magazine

Let America Be America Again Exhibit at Beinecke Library

The Rev, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. used Langston Hughes’ poetry in his sermons and speeches from 1956-1968. This Mondays at Beinecke gallery talk from Martin Luther King Day, January 18, 2021, traces King's mighty oratory inspiration back to Langston Hughes.

This quote from the presentation summarizes its message: "Dr. King became the star performer of some of Langston Hughes’ greatest scripts."

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Dr. King Speaking

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. addressed more than 2,000 members of the Yale and New Haven community in Woolsey Hall on January 14, 1959, the eve of his 30th birthday. Here are some of his words, read by Yale students.

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MLK Medal

At the Yale Art Gallery: Martin Luther King Jr. commemorative Bronze medal minted in 2004. This medal honors Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his wife Coretta Scott King for their many contributions to the Nation on behalf of the civil rights movement. It is a bronze duplicate of the Congressional Gold Medal awarded posthumously by President Obama – on behalf of Congress – to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King.

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32 Speeches by Dr. King

This playlist is available via Spotify. Click any speech title above to listen on this page. Scroll down using the scroll-bar on the right of the image to see more speeches. If you do not see a media player above, use this link to open the playlist of speeches in a new window. (Requires a free registration on Spotify).

Reading Lists

Explore the collection of writings and books by and about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. compiled by The King Center. This comprehensive list includes not only Dr. King's writings and speeches, but also books by Dr. King's family members, books about the Civil Rights Movement and books about Non-Violence

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MLK in Alabama

Readers interested to know more about the iconic civil rights hero can choose from a wide range of literary options — from shorter books that give an easily digestible overview of his life, to multi-volume tomes exploring his every action in great detail. While some books take a holistic approach toward the life of the man, others focus in on sub-topics of his legacy.

View the Time Magazine reading list

National Civil Rights Trail: Five Sites - Five Speeches

Ebenezer Baptist Church

Ebenezer Baptist Church is a living tribute to the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It is where he was baptized, ordained and served as co-pastor with his father until 1968. The church played a valuable role in influencing Dr. King’s Christian values and his pursuit of justice and equality.

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Listen to "But if Not" by Dr. King, 1967

The National Civil Rights Museum

Explore more: The museum offers 260 artifacts, more than 40 new films, oral histories, interactive media and external listening posts that guide visitors through five centuries of history — from the beginning of the resistance during slavery, through the Civil War and Reconstruction, the rise of Jim Crow, and the seminal events of the late 20th century that inspired people around the world to stand up for equality.

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Follow in the footsteps of Martin Luther King, Jr. with the five significant sites shown above that Yale Alumni Academy has chosen for this virtual tour of the Civil Rights Trail. We suggest that as you visit each site, you listen to the corresponding speech while pondering the life and times of this historic leader. To continue your journey on the National Civil Rights Trail, follow the link below.

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US Civil Rights Trail
  • National Civil Rights Trail

Virtually Explore the National Civil Rights Trail

This website allows you to explore the destinations important to the Civil Rights Movement, and chart your journey to cities along the trail. From Topeka, Kansas, to Memphis, Tennessee, from Atlanta, Georgia, to Selma and Birmingham, and all the way to Washington, DC, follow the course of the Civil Rights Movement through the Civil Rights Trail. On this site, you’ll find places to see and things to do at each destination. Plus, you’ll find in-depth explorations crafted to allow you to experience the destination or event in a more comprehensive way. Discover the trail. Discover the fight for civil rights. And make sure the true stories that changed history are never lost.