13th November 2017

On Monday 13 November 2017 Newcastle University and the people of Newcastle Gateshead marked the 50th anniversary of Dr King’s Visit.

Statue Unveiling

The day began with the unveiling of a new statue by renowned artist Nigel Boonham. Nigel created a lasting sculpture of Dr King which will continue to inspire students and visitors as a physical reminder of Dr King’s Visit.

The statue was unveiled by Ambassador Andrew Jackson Young Jr who attended the honorary degree ceremony at Newcastle University in 1967 alongside Dr Martin Luther King Jr.

Left to right: Ambassador Andrew Young, President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Chris Day and artist Nigel Boonham with sculpture of Dr Martin Luther King Jr
Image credit: © Newcastle University

Honorary Degree Ceremony

50 years to the day since Dr King visited Newcastle University, a special honorary degree ceremony was held to honour 4 individuals who have made a significant contribution to tackling the challenges of war, poverty and racism.

Ambassador Andrew Young, Honorary Doctor of Civil Law (DCL)

Archibald Archie Sibeko, Honorary Doctor of Civil Law (DCL)

Malorie Blackman OBE, Honorary Doctor of Letters (DLitt)

Thomas Caulker, Honorary Doctor of Civil Law (DCL)

Left to right: Ambassador Andrew Young, Archibald Archie Sibeko, Malorie Blackman OBE and Tom Caulker
Image credit: © Newcastle University


Fifty years to the day of Dr King’s speech, individuals recited parts of the speech around Tyneside, both live and over tannoy systems. Around 50 people learned these powerful words by heart, including bakers, barbers, lecturers, business leaders, school pupils, politicians and railway announcers – people of different ages, sexes, races, all echoing the powerful words of Dr King, that still have so much resonance, and relevance, today.

The participants had all sorts of reactions – from startled customers in Benwell shops to standing ovations – and many more we may never hear about.

MLK1967 was produced by Wunderbar alongside Turner Prize winning artist Jeremy Deller, who conceived the idea, as part of Freedom City 2017.

Image credit © Wunderbar