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News Posted on April 12, 2019

Fifty years ago: Martin Luther King Jr. Hall gets its name

On April 12, 1969 - 50 years ago last week - the UC Davis School of Law building was officially dedicated as Martin Luther King Jr. Hall. King was assassinated in 1968 as the law school was finishing its second year of instruction. The students and faculty urged campus administrators to name the building after King to honor the slain civil rights leader and his ideals of public service and social justice.

During the dedication ceremony U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren delivered a speech in which he discussed the importance of recognizing King's legacy, as seen in this excerpt: 

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. He was not a lawyer, but he taught the law of life from the Good Book itself, the Book from which all our principles of justice flow - peace with freedom, equality under law, dignity of the human spirit, compassion for the unfortunate. These are the principles for which Martin Luther King fought and gave his life. He taught them in the house of God. They can be taught as appropriately in every law school, practiced in the office of every lawyer, observed in every Legislature, and be the hallmarks of justice in every court in the land.

-U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren, April 12, 1969 dedication of King Hall

Read the full speech

UC Davis Law continues to be committed to upholding Dr. King's pursuit of civil rights, equality and education for all.