Fifty-eight years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. traveled to Kingston, Rhode Island, where he visited University of Rhode Island students, faculty and staff in Keaney Gymnasium.

On October 5, 1966, King gave a speech to a crowd of 5,000, sharing his dream of a future built on equality for all people. This appearance was amid protests and marches just two months after ending the Chicago Freedom Movement. It also comes about a year and a half before his assassination on April 4, 1968.

In his speech, King also spoke about housing and education discrimination, poverty, and unemployment for Black Americans.

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In 2022, URI continued to honor King's legacy with a plaque featuring King and a part of his speech engraved upon it, reminding students and faculty of that day in 1966.

The plaque reads:

In spite of the tensions of this moment, in spite of the setbacks, in spite of my personal frustrations, my deep disappointments, in spite of some of the developments that are so confusing taking place today, I believe that we are still going to win our freedom. Our goal is freedom and I believe that we are going to get there because ultimately the goal of America is freedom and I have not lost faith in America."

Many institutions today follow King's teachings and philosophies to fight for positive social change. URI's Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies teaches students to practice peace and mutual understanding in communities through nonviolence.

Today, we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. and honor his legacy that has helped pave the way for society and improved this world.

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