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Dr. Martin Luther King's 1968 Speech at Grosse Pointe High School

Grosse Pointe has a special, but little known connection to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The Nobel-prize winning activist gave a speech at Grosse Pointe High School (now Grosse Pointe South) on March 14, 1968, three weeks before he was assassinated. His speech, entitled "The Other America," was delivered in the school gym to a capacity crowd of 2,700, according to a Grosse Pointe News article. Some 200 picketers from the right-wing organization, Breakthrough, demonstrated in front of the building, but the evening proceeded without incident. Dr. King was invited to speak by the Grosse Pointe Human Relations Council, a group of concerned citizens who worked for things like fair housing.

This on-line exhibit includes a copy of the speech along with pictures of Dr. King's appearance, as well as comments from members of Breakthrough and the Human Relations Council.

This situation was so volatile, according to accounts in the Society's files, the Grosse Pointe Farms Police Chief actually sat on King's lap in the car ride to the high school in order to protect him.

Anyone who remembers attending the speech is invited to e-mail your comments or photos to the society at info@gphistorical.org

Further Reading: "Up north: Martin Luther King, Jr., in Grosse Pointe," by historian, filmmaker and freelance writer, Paul Lee. The Michigan Citizen, January 18 - January 24, 2004. Note: Copy of the FBI report on Dr. King's appearance courtesy of Paul Lee.

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