Special Collections is closed today as the University participates in the national recognition of the life and contributions of Dr. Martin Luther King. The holiday, celebrated the third Monday in January, is officially called “Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.” as the original proposal was to have the celebration on Dr. King’s January 15th birthday.
Signed into law in 1983, the federal holiday was first celebrated in 1986. The State of Iowa joined 43 others in celebrating the holiday in 1989. At Iowa State University, the celebration is planned and managed by the Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Committee. Special Collections has records of the committee in our web archives here and here.
Iowa State University was lucky enough to be one of the universities Dr. King visited in the 1960s. He spoke on campus January 22, 1960. His speech, “The Moral Challenges of a New Age” was excerpted in the program for the ISU celebration of 2008:
All I am saying is simply this: All life is interrelated, whatever affects one individual, whatever affects one nation directly affects other individuals and other nations indirectly. We are all tied in a single garment of destiny, we are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, and therefore, we must live together. So long as there is poverty in the world no individual can truly be rich, even if he has a billion dollars. So long as diseases are rampant and millions of people cannot expect to live more than 28 or 30 years, no man can be totally healthy, even if he has just got a checkup from the Mayo Clinic. Strangely enough, I can never be what I ought until you are what you ought to be. This is the way life is made, this is the way the universe is made.”
The full text of this speech is available in RS 22/08/00/01, box 2, folder 1.