Listen: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at Bowdoin, May 6, 1964

Dr. and Mrs. Fred Stoddard '64 at the Martin Luther King Memorial in Washington, DC.

In 1964 as president of the Political Forum, Fred Stoddard ’64 invited Martin Luther King Jr. to speak at Bowdoin about the civil rights movement and the importance of ending segregation and discrimination in America. On May 6, 1964, Stoddard and President Coles introduced the Reverend King to an overflowing crowd at First Parish Church.

“Interestingly,” Stoddard writes, “one of my Harvard Medical students who went to Morehouse College’s sister school, Spelman, recently told me that the talk there now is that MLK’s trip to Maine was a turning point for him as he fought for the Voting Rights bill.”

Listen to the recording (flash player required):

 

Copyright: Estate of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. All rights reserved.

Comments

  1. Thank you Mr. Stoddard for inviting Rev. King to Bowdoin. Individuals like you and many others from Bowdoin have made decisions regarding race relations, access and inclusion that have paved the way for my son to attend Bowdoin today. For this I am very grateful.

    As a Spelman graduate (’83), I am particularly proud to see the reference to my alma mater. However, with this quote, it dawned on me that there is something else that Bowdoin and Spelman have in common; their names are often mispelled (e.g. The correct spelling is Spelman and not Spellman :-)).

    Thank you for your vision and your conscious in a time when many in America had very little of both.

    Sincerely,
    CD Flowers

  2. Editor's Note says:

    Fred Stoddard ’64 writes: “I’d like to express my appreciation to the Bowdoin Daily Sun for sharing the news about Dr. King’s visit to Bowdoin, and add important details to it. Others in the Political Forum collaborated in making Dr King’s, and Bayard Rustin’s visits possible: Berle Schiller ’65, and Christos Gianopoulos ’64, as well as our faculty adviser, Daniel Leviine. President Coles was very supportive, and Professor Whiteside was helpful in placing the event in historical context not too long after. The response of the Bowdoin community at the time was tremendous: very welcoming and in awe of Dr. King and Bayard Rustin’s achievements for Civil Rights, which were happening then. Fortunately, an archivist at Bowdoin succeeded in discovering the audiotapes of Dr King’s speech just a few years ago. These are available every year around the time of Martin Luther King Day on the Bowdoin website with permission from the King Center in Atlanta.’ An article about Dr King’s visit was published in the Bowdoin Alumni Magazine by me, Schiller, and Gianopoulos in about 1996.”

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