From the Archive: The Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.

This year’s observance of Martin Luther King Day is made especially momentous as it also marks the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s March on Washington. Here then are a few incredible moments from the Los Angeles Public Library’s photo collection looking back at the rich legacy of MLK and how he impacted our city. Also, LAPL will be hosting Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle, a new program series developed by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) that uses the power of documentary films to encourage community discussion of America’s civil rights history. Check out the schedule of free film screenings at several library branches here.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Addresses Students Luther King speaks to a crowd of 4,500 on the campus of the University of California, Los Angeles. Here, he called for students to join a “Domestic Freedom Corps” to work in 120 counties of the Deep South to help increase the number of registered African American voters.

Honored at the Hollywood Palladium
Martin Luther King is honored by the City of Los Angeles and the World Affairs Council during a luncheon held at the Hollywood Palladium. Here he is pictured with (from left), Councilman (and later mayor) Tom Bradley, Supervisor Warren M. Dorn, King, Harold C. McClellan and Mayor Samuel W. Yorty. King arrived in Los Angeles under heavy guard following the assassination of Malcolm X. An anonymous bomb threat was made during the luncheon. When addressing the group, King said, “Before the victory is won, some of us will have to get scarred up a little bit.” Photograph caption dated February 26, 1965 reads, “City and county officials presented a proclamation to Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. in ceremonies preceeding a World Affairs Council luncheon yesterday at the Hollywood Palladium at which King, the Nobel Peace prize winner, spoke.”

Busload of L.A. Marchers Leave for Alabama March
A chartered bus with 37 aboard leaves the Federal Building under strict security measures. The Los Angeles civil-rights partisans were on their way to Alabama to participate in Dr. Martin Luther King’s “Negro vote” march. 1965.

Los Angeles Sports Arena Luther King and Governor Edmund G. Brown during a Freedom Rally at the Los Angeles Sports Arena. An audience of 12,000 was expected at the 18,000-seat venue. When over 25,000 people showed up to hear King speak, many remained outside and listened to the speech over loudspeakers. Photograph dated June 18, 1961.

Chavez Gives King Tribute Chavez, standing next to a large wreath, pays tribute to the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at a memorial service at the Los Angeles Coliseum on April 7, 1968.

King Memorial Service and mourners march to First Methodist Church, 8th and Hill Streets, on April 8, 1968, where services were held for Dr. Martin Luther King. View is from the top of the church.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Honored
A grandmother explains to her grandson who Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was, in front of a display in the lobby of Curtiss Middle School in Carson. Photo by Ken Papaleo.

Browse more photos from the Library’s online collection here.

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