Dr. King's Memorial Service

On April 4, 1968, while standing on a balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was shot and killed. The following morning, many institutions across the country were closed, and Northeastern University was among them. Students were devastated to discover that a moving force in the Civil Rights Movement was gone.

The following morning, approximately 200 Northeastern students marched to the State House to join other sympathy marchers enroute to Post Office Square. As the somber procession made its way through Boston, marchers sang, “We Shall Overcome” and carried signs depicting their bewilderment, anger, and sorrow.

Northeastern reopened on April 8, 1968, and the university’s black students' unions sponsored a memorial service for Dr. King. More than 800 students filled Alumni Auditorium to hear testimonials made by President Knowles, Professor Harvey Vetstein, and Jessie Richie, a member of the Black Student Union and class of 1972.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s death had an immense impact on the university’s African American students, making them more aware than ever of the dire transformation needed at Northeastern and beyond and causing them to ponder the next steps toward generating change.