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Last Updated: Saturday, 17 November 2007, 09:22 GMT
Ceremony marks Luther King visit
Martin Luther King at Newcastle University

The 40th anniversary of a visit by one of the world's best-known civil rights leaders to Tyneside has been marked with a special ceremony.

In 1967, Newcastle University became the only UK university to honour Dr Martin Luther King Jnr in his lifetime.

Dr King travelled to Tyneside in November that year to receive an honorary Doctor of Civil Law degree.

A memorial lecture was be delivered to mark the historic event, which was captured on film at the time.

'Renewed courage'

At the 1967 ceremony, which was held in the King's Hall, Dr King received his degree from the Duke of Northumberland, who was at that time the university's chancellor.

In an acceptance speech, Dr King said: "Words are certainly inadequate for me to express my deep and genuine appreciation to the University of Newcastle for honouring me in such a significant way.

"I can assure you that you give me renewed courage and vigour to carry on in the struggle to make peace and justice a reality for all men and women all over the world."

Five months later, the university found itself organising a memorial service following Dr King's assassination in Memphis, Tennessee, on 4 April 1968.

Friday's lecture was delivered by Professor Tony Badger, Paul Mellon Professor of American History and Master of Clare College, Cambridge.



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