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December 5, 2020

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Martin Luther King Day has special meaning in Ada

The text of King's 1968 speech at ONU is linked to this story

Martin Luther King Day always has special meaning in Ada because the civic rights leader spoke on the ONU campus. The date was Jan. 11, 1968.

Matt Francis, ONU's archivist, made available the text of King's speech in Taft gymnasium.

CLICK HERE to read the entire text. This link also shows a video and photographs of Dr. King while at ONU.

King's concluding remarks at ONU, mentioning his own hope for the future follows:

"Through such maladjustment I believe that we can emerge from the bleak and desolate midnight of man's inhumanity to man into the bright and glittering daybreak of freedom and justice. I haven't lost faith in the future.

I still feel that we can develop a kind of coalition of conscience, and with this coalition move on into a brighter tomorrow. With this faith we will be able to do it.

There is something in this universe that justifies Carlyle in saying, "No lie can live forever." There is something in this universe that justifies William Cullen Bryant in saying, "Truth, crushed to earth, will rise again." There is something in this universe which justifies James Russell Lowell in saying, "Truth forever on the scaffold, wrong forever on the throne, yet that scaffold sways the future."

With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. We will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.

We will be able to speed up the day when all of God's children – black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics – will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual "Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty we're free at last."