MLK Has Connection to K-State
KSAL Staff / Associated Press - Sun 07:58 PM 01/20/2013
Martin Luther King Jr. gave a speech at Kansas State University just months before his death in 1968.
King spoke to more than 7,000 people at Ahearn Field House on Jan. 19, 1968.
Although King had delivered a version of the speech before, he often adjusted to respond to his audience and address current events. Those off-message moments are often what historians find most interesting, and King’s appearance at Kansas State didn’t disappoint. King used the speech to respond to the State of the Union address that President Lyndon Johnson had delivered two days earlier.
”He talked about the highways and the beautiful cars flowing on those highways,” King told his audience. “He talked about the 70 million television sets. And then he wanted to know why there is so much restlessness. I would like to answer the president by saying that there is restlessness in this society because we have allowed the means by which we live to outdistance the ends for which we live.”
The speech was titled “The Future of Integration.”
When King was killed shortly after the Manhattan speech, he carried a bit of Kansas State University with him. A paper in his coat pocket contained the names of four men tied to the speech the civil rights icon gave at K-State less than three months earlier. It also contained the name of then university president James McCain.