Martin Luther King receives honorary degree from Newcastle University – archive, 14 November 1967 | US news

Dr Martin Luther King said yesterday that the world would never rise to full moral, political, or social maturity until racialism was fully eradicated. There was no separate path for white and black; they were caught in an inescapable network of mutuality.

Dr King was addressing a congregation of Newcastle upon Tyne University after receiving the honorary degree of Doctor of Civil Law. Newcastle is the first British University to give him an honorary degree, and he is the first American Negro to be so honoured by the university, or its parent university of Durham.

Dr King said the honour was of inestimable value to his cause, and would renew his courage and vitality in carrying on the struggle to make peace and justice a reality. It also honoured hundreds of thousands of people who were associated with him in the struggle.

Ultimate logic
The ultimate logic of the idea that any race was inferior was genocide, he said. Anyone who denied a man the right to live next door or to have an adequate job was saying that God had made a creative error. There were people who said that only time would solve the problem, but time was neutral. It could be used constructively or destructively, and the forces of illwill often used it more effectively than those of goodwill. Without the tireless efforts of people working for justice, time became the ally of primitive forces.

Legislation, as some people said, could not change a man’s heart, but it could control his behaviour. “It cannot,” he added, “make him love me, but it can restrain him from lynching me, and I think that is pretty important also.”

Martin Luther King at Newcastle University 1967. (YouTube).

15 November 1967
Dr King’s warning on racialism
By our own Reporter

Dr Martin Luther King, the American Negro leader, gave a warning yesterday of the “developing darkness” of racialism in Britain. He asked for strong legislation to stop discrimination in housing and jobs and in school and urged a very aggressive programme of education.”

Dr King was speaking in London shortly before he returned to the United States after his two-day visit to England, during which he received an honorary degree from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne.

“If, in England, there is the darkness of discrimination,” he said, “and I see some ghettoes developing and some prejudice existing – the thing is to prevent it in the beginning. If it can be prevented, England can save itself from many of the dark and desolate nights we have had in the US.”

Serious problem
Dr King said that during his visit he had had no personal experience of prejudice. He could only repeat what others had told him. “I know just enough to say that there is a serious problem developing. I think it can be nipped in the bud if there is a determination to do so.”

There was a “big job” for voluntary liaison committees and institutions, for religious bodies, and for the Government in educating the public and in providing channels to help immigrants adapt. Dr King said he did not believe in any separate black or white paths to power and fulfilment. But, in the final analysis, the cry of black power was a reaction against the failure and abuse of white power. Public opinion polls, however, showed that the majority of Negroes had not responded to the call for violence and separatism.

The Guardian, 14 November 1967.



The Guardian, 14 November 1967.

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