Recalling Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Historic Address at Queens College

Martin Luther King

Queens College is commemorating the life of civil rights leader and activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday, Jan. 20. 

Dr. King spoke at Queens College on May 13, 1965, less than a year after Queens College student Andrew Goodman was murdered in Mississippi alongside two other Civil rights activists by members of the Ku Klux Klan during Freedom Summer 1964.

“As we observe the upcoming holiday in honor of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we at Queens College are inevitably reminded of the personal connection we have to the fallen civil rights leader and the movement he led,” Queens College Interim President William Tramontano said in his statement honoring Dr. King.

In his 40 minute address he gave at Queens College on May 13, 1965, Dr. King acknowledged Goodman’s activism in galvanizing support for the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

“I certainly stand here,” King said, “under the inspiration of the fact that it was Queens College that gave to America, and indeed to the world, Andrew Goodman, whose creative witness will certainly live for generations yet unborn. He, along with others, paid the supreme price for this struggle and I’m sure that we will see in many ways that his death was not in vain.” 

The spirit of King’s crusade lives on at Queens College, Tramontano said, in the persons of individuals who, like Goodman, were part of it. 

Artifacts of their participation can be found in the Queens College Civil Rights Archives, which include those of Rabbi Moshe Shur, who is leading a group of Queens College students on a tour of significant sites in the Civil Rights Movement as part of the annual In the Footsteps of Dr. King program. An ever-present reminder greets all on campus each day when bells toll the beginning of each hour from the library’s Chaney-Goodman-Schwerner Clocktower. 

For the full story, visit qns.com