Forty five years ago Newcastle University awarded Dr Martin Luther King an honorary degree.
The event, which took place on 13 November, 1967, remains one of the most important in the University’s history.
Newcastle was the only UK university to honour the inspirational campaigner during his lifetime. Tragically, he was assassinated just five months after the ceremony.
Now, to mark the anniversary, the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) is holding its Claudia Jones Memorial lecture in the University’s King’s Hall, the same place where Dr King was made a Doctor of Civil Law.
The annual lecture is held in October to coincide with Black History month. It commemorates Claudia Jones, the journalist, trade unionist and campaigner for social justice who launched the Notting Hill Carnival and Britain’s first Black Newspaper, The West Indian Gazette.
This year’s talk will feature speakers from the worlds of journalism, academia and politics to discuss the legacy of Martin Luther King. They include:
- Former Newcastle University historian Professor Brian Ward, who discovered footage of Dr King receiving his honorary degree. An internationally renowned expert on civil rights, he will look at the journey from Martin Luther King to the election of Barack Obama.
- Jim Boumelha, president of the International Federation of Journalists and a former chair of the NUJ's Black Members Council. He is a tireless campaigner for press freedoms, an ethical media and social justice.
- Dr Connie St Louis,an award-winning journalist and chair of the Association of British Science Writers. She has produced and presented many BBC programmes on science, particularly for BBC Radio 4 and the World Service.
- Lionel Morrison spent his early life in South Africa, where he set up a multiracial journalists' union in the 1950s. He was the youngest defendant in the infamous treason trials in 1956 and moved to the UK in 1960, after the Sharpeville Massacre. He continued working as a journalist and became president of the NUJ in 1973
The lecture will take place between 5pm and 7pm, on Friday 5 October, in the King’s Hall, Armstrong Building and for the first time will coincide with the National Union of Journalists annual conference which will be held at Newcastle Civic Centre from 4 to 7 of October.
Video footage, a transcript of speech and images from the Martin Luther King degree ceremony are available on our Congregations website.
published on: 28 September 2012