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Iowa History Daily: January 22 - MLK in Ames

Iowa History Daily: On January 22, 1960, Martin Luther King Jr. spoke in Ames. Around 1,500 people turned out to the Iowa State Memorial Union to hear the world renowned humanitarian speak about the need for a new age in America.

Invited by the Student Religious Council, MLK arrived in Ames roughly three years after he rose to national prominence during the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Still three years away from the “I Have a Dream” speech and “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” of 1963, King represented one of the most prolific American Civil Rights figures by the time he arrived in Ames.

As the Great Hall overflowed and eager would-be audience members crowded around speakers in surrounding rooms, King challenged the audience to embrace the changes of the 20th century. After detailing the advancements of post-WW2 era in America, King urged the audience to “keep our moral progress abreast with our scientific and technological progress.”

King also spoke significantly on the doctrine of non-violence. Speaking of the need for love, MLK focused on describing an overflowing love, a love people extend to each other. King discussed a love he believed could carry an individual through the struggle, and how love served as the foundation of nonviolence. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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