Office of the President

November 9, 2021

60 years after MLK Jr’s visit to the Seattle, the work for racial equity continues

Ana Mari Cauce

Last night, I had the joy and privilege of taking part in a momentous event celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s sole visit to Seattle. During that visit, after one of his planned speaking events was canceled, Dr. King was invited to address the University of Washington, where he was warmly received by the 2,000 students who attended his talk.

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speaking at Old Meany Hall on November 9, 1961

Yesterday’s event, organized by the Northwest African American Museum (NAAM), concluded a three-day commemoration with events throughout Seattle that recalled the itinerary of MLK, Jr’s visit. His son, Martin Luther King, III, delivered the keynote address last night and then joined Seattle community leader and activist Eddie Rye, Jr. for a facilitated talk about the work needed to achieve true racial and economic equity in our own community and everywhere.

Martin Luther King, III speaking to Eddie Rye, Jr. at the HUB on November 8, 2021

Last night’s event was a vivid reminder that the battle for civil rights and racial justice continues, and that all of us are needed for this work to succeed. Dr. King’s courage and wisdom inspires us today, as it did the UW students who heard him speak here 60 years ago. The work of both Kings is helping us keep our eyes on the prize.

Thank you all of the speakers and organizers at yesterday’s event, and special thanks to NAAM and its terrific director, LaNesha DeBardelaben, for choosing the UW campus to host this memorable and powerful event.