An honorary degree was the highest mark of distinction the University could confer and came at a time when Dr King was seen as an increasingly controversial figure, particularly in relation to his stance on the Vietnam War and capitalism.
Newcastle University (and indeed the city of Newcastle upon Tyne) has a strong history of civic engagement and support for civil rights and social justice.
The award of Dr King’s honorary degree in recognition of his significant contribution towards equality and fairness for all is just one example of this.
Newcastle University defines itself as a world class civic university which puts its excellence to a purpose for the benefit of wider society.
In practical terms we focus our efforts on three major societal challenges – ageing, social renewal and sustainability. The theme of social renewal is especially relevant to the issues raised by Dr King in his speech here in November 1967.
The Freedom City 2017 programme includes several events and academic research projects led by Newcastle University. In addition, students from the School of Arts and Cultures are leading several activities spanning art, music, media, culture and heritage.