College will hold public listening event Feb. 20 to broadcast recently recovered speech delivered on its campus by Civil Rights icon

Fifty-five years after he addressed graduates of Keuka College, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s words will again echo across the campus.

A recently recovered recording of the Civil Rights leader’s June 16, 1963, Baccalaureate Address will be broadcast in the College’s Norton Chapel at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 20. The event is free and open to the public.

A public discussion will follow the speech, highlighted by Dr. James H. Evans, Robert K. Davies Professor of Systematic Theology at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, who will provide context and perspective. Several members of the Keuka College Class of 1963, some of whom attended the Baccalaureate Service, will be in attendance.

“Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s visit to our campus was a watershed moment in the College’s history,” said College President Dr. Jorge L. Díaz-Herrera. “So we are thrilled to have the original recording of this stirring speech back in our possession – and even more excited to share it with the public.”

A number of related events will be held earlier in the day, including a separate, midday broadcast of the digitally restored speech for students and a roundtable discussion that will examine what Dr. King’s words meant in his time and, more importantly, what they mean for ours.

The speech, which centers on King’s famous sermon “The Three Dimensions of a Complete Life,” came amid a tumultuous period in the Civil Rights movement. The Birmingham marches against segregation had begun just two months earlier, and fellow Civil Rights leader Medgar Evers had been assassinated just days prior to the address. Indeed, King came to Keuka Park directly from the June 15 Evers funeral in Jackson, Mississippi.

Following his address, Dr. King was presented with an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from then-College President Dr. William S. Litterick.