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San Diego State University Seeks Memorabilia From MLK Visit

Photo caption:

Photo credit: San Diego State University

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Daily Aztec headline about his visit to San Diego State.

Nearly 50 years have gone by since the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke at San Diego State University.

Now school officials, including SDSU historian Seth Mallios, are looking for people who attended the civil-rights leader's speech on May 29, 1964.

Mallios, chairman of SDSU's Anthropology Department, hopes to collect memories and memorabilia from King's San Diego appearance. SDSU plans to observe the 50th anniversary of the speech on April 30, before its annual Diversity Awards program.

So far, only two of the estimated 4,000 people who attended King's speech have been located. And the only item the school possesses from the event is a grainy newspaper photograph.

King was already a global icon when he came to San Diego State University, Mallios said. He had just been named Time Magazine's "Man of the Year" and was about to be named the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner in history.

Mallios said both the audio and the transcript of the speech have been lost. There was no video.

He said King's visit to the campus ranks among the most important events in the university's history, comparable to when President John F. Kennedy gave the commencement address at SDSU in 1963.

Community members who saw King's speech or who have photos or memorabilia from the event can send an email to or call (619) 594-3952.

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