Dr. Martin Luther
King Jr.’s Memorial Service
On April 4, 1968, while standing
on a balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, Dr. Martin
Luther King Jr. was shot. The following morning, many institutions across
the country were closed, and Northeastern University was among them.
Students were devastated to discover that a moving force in the Civil
Rights Movement was gone.
The following morning, approximately
200 Northeastern students marched to the State House to join other sympathy
marchers enroute to Post Office Square. As the somber procession made
its way through Boston, marchers sang, “We Shall Overcome”
and carried signs depicting their bewilderment, anger, and sorrow.
Northeastern reopened on
April 8, 1968, and the university’s Black
Student's Union sponsored a memorial service for Dr. King. More
than 800 students filled Alumni Auditorium to hear testimonials made
by President Knowles, Professor Harvey Vetstein, and Jessie Richie,
a member of the Black Student Union and class of 1972.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s
death had an immense impact on the university’s African American
students, making them more aware than ever of the dire transformation
needed at Northeastern and beyond and causing them to ponder the next
steps toward generating change.