Caltech Celebrates the Life of Martin Luther King Jr. With Events You Can Attend

Published on Jan 17, 2022

Martin Luther King Jr. (center left), meeting with a group of students in the Caltech Y lounge in 1958. [Credit: Caltech Archives] (Click on image to enlarge)

Caltech will commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life and legacy with a virtual keynote address by John Williams, director of racial reconciliation at Fellowship Monrovia Church.
The address, scheduled for noon on Jan. 18, is open to the public and is part of a weeklong series of events and programs organized by the Caltech Center for Inclusion and Diversity, Caltech Y, Black Scientists & Engineers of Caltech, and Black Ladies Association of Caltech.

A screening and discussion of the film MLK/FBI will also be held this week, which the public can attend.

Williams, whose talk will reflect the theme “It Starts with Me,” is an attorney who has dedicated his life to racial justice and education. He regularly guides civil rights journeys to the American South, exploring African American, Latine/Latino, and Asian American cultures and history.

Registration for the event is online.

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. visited Caltech in February 1958, giving three talks to the Caltech and Pasadena communities. He also met with members of the Associated Students of Caltech (ASCIT) and Interhouse Committee (IHC); dined at Dabney, Blacker, Fleming, and Ricketts houses; and held daily office hours at the Caltech Y.

“We must have active commitment rather than mere academic acceptance if we are going to solve the racial problems that face America today,” King told one audience at Dabney Hall.

King was invited to the campus as part of the Caltech Y’s “Leaders for America Program.” Established in 1951, the program brought prominent speakers to campus to engage with students.

King’s keynote address, “Progress in Race Relations,” drew an estimated 200 audience members to the Athenaeum.

By 1958, the then-29-year-old King had already risen to national prominence for his leadership of the Montgomery bus boycott and his philosophy of nonviolence.

For more information on Caltech events celebrating King’s work, visit

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