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1968 King  Manchster University Archives

Manchester marks 55-year MLK speech anniversary Feb. 1

Drew Hart to stand at same lectern with ‘blue jeans’ message of action

On Feb. 1, 2023, Manchester University will mark 55 years since the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King delivered his “The Future of Integration” address at its North Manchester campus. 

Drew Hart 2022Theology professor, church anti-racism leader and social change practitioner the Rev. Dr. Drew G.I. Hart will stand at the very same lectern MLK used to offer “Dr. King’s Blue Jeans: White Supremacy, Christianity, and God’s Delivering Presence.” 

The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Remembrance & Rededication Ceremony is 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 1 in Cordier Auditorium. It is free and open to the public. The livestream is scheduled for MU’s Facebook page.

The program will be one hour and this lecture, in the spirit of King’s own public witness, will encourage prophetic and grassroots action committed to justice for people who are oppressed and vulnerable.

Through the use of story, theology, scripture, history, social change theory and personal experience, Hart will invite audience members to put on their blue jeans and join God's delivering presence for justice in solidarity with all those who have had their “backs against the wall.”

Hart is an assistant professor of theology at Messiah University in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. An author, he wrote Who Will Be a Witness? and Trouble I’ve Seen.

“Manchester is deeply rooted in the peace and justice tradition,” said President Dave McFadden. “It has the oldest undergraduate peace studies program in the world, starting in 1948, and our mission calls upon our graduates to improve the human condition.”

This year, 2023, marks the 75th anniversary of peace studies at Manchester.

The Manchester Peace Studies Institute and the Office of the President made the Feb. 1 program possible. It is part of the Values, Ideas and the Arts (VIA) series at Manchester, which is designed to enrich the student experience. 

These VIA presentations, once called convocations, brought King to the Manchester campus in 1968. What could not have been known then was that this was to be King’s last speech at a campus before he was slain on April 4, 1968. 

For the media
Why was MLK at Manchester?
Peace studies at Manchester
More about the Rev. Dr. Drew G. I. Hart

Founded in 1889 by the Church of the Brethren, a historic peace church, Manchester values learning, faith, service, integrity, diversity and community.

Manchester is guided by its Mission Statement: Manchester University respects the infinite worth of every individual and graduates persons of ability and conviction who draw upon their education and faith to lead principled, productive and compassionate lives that improve the human condition.

January 2023