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News Posted on August 28, 2013

UC Davis School of Law Commemorates 50th Anniversary of March on Washington, 'I Have a Dream' Speech by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dear King Hall Community,

It is with great honor and respect that UC Davis School of Law marks the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his historic "I Have a Dream" speech on August 28, 1963. Today is a day to celebrate our community's deep ties to Dr. King and his dream.

While many buildings on university campuses are named for their most generous donors, ours is named for the civil rights icon of his generation, who stood for liberty and justice for all. I know that means a lot to everyone in the King Hall Community, from faculty and staff to students and alumni.

Dr. King was assassinated on April 4, 1968. At the time, our Law School was brand new - just finishing its second year. Law School faculty, staff, and students were profoundly affected by Dr. King's death and urged campus administrators to name the building after him.

On April 12, 1969, King Hall was officially dedicated in a ceremony that included an address by U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren, whose words are memorialized on a plaque that adorns the entrance to King Hall: "In this fractured and strident world in which we live, there could be no finer symbol of justice at a law school than to have its house of learning bear the name of the gentle Martin Luther King."

In 1987, the Law School received the terra-cotta statue of Dr. King that now stands proudly in our lobby. The statue, whose creation was commissioned by a committee of alumni and students, has tremendous cultural and historical significance to the King Hall community. On the statue, etched into Dr. King's robe, are notations of significant moments in the struggle for equality and inclusion in American history.

Earlier this year, the Law School hosted "Remembering Our Roots," a celebration of Dr. King's legacy, featuring  Clarence B. Jones, Dr. King's personal attorney and speechwriter who helped to write the "I Have a Dream" speech. The event was a great success, thanks to the efforts of student groups including the Law Students Association (LSA), Black Law Students Association (BLSA), and La Raza Law Students Association (LRLSA), among others.

Today, the words of Dr. King that grace the walls of our Law School continue to resonate:

"Life's most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'"

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

To learn more about the history of King Hall, visit the "History of King Hall" page at http://www.law.ucdavis.edu/about/history-of-king-hall.html. Please visit our interactive exhibit on the life and achievements of Dr. King in the King Hall lobby. The touch-enabled LCD screen hosts a digital exhibit with archival images and video, as well as an explanation of the scenes etched on our King statue. And please enjoy the news coverage of today's events, streaming live on select screens in King Hall.

Today -- and every day -- I am proud to be a part of a Law School community that dedicates itself to the ideals of social justice, equality, and public service espoused by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Kevin R. Johnson
Dean