In honor of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday and MLK Day on January 16, 2017, OC Weekly devotes its “OC Speakly” podcast to Dr. King and his two speeches in Orange County: in 1961 in Memorial Hall at then-Chapman College, and in 1968 — sadly just a few weeks before his assassination — at the Anaheim Convention Center.
The podcast puts the speeches in the context of the racism endemic at that time — along with some very interesting tidbits about Chapman College (did you know Tougaloo College, a historically black university in Mississippi, was a sister institution of Chapman, and that Dr. King’s speech there may have led to his appearance at Chapman?). OC Weekly editor and Chapman alumnus Gustavo Arellano, podcast producer Gabriel San Román and music editor Nate Jackson examine many other interesting facets of history connected with Dr. King’s appearances in OC, from “how stupidly Orange County responded when he was here” to how Dr. King’s words still resonate today. The Chapman speech was luckily recorded by Professor Don Booth, who had joined the Chapman faculty in 1959 — and so Dr. King’s legacy here has been almost miraculously preserved (considering that few people – even faculty members – in 1961 had recording devices).
Just one example of a(n unfortunately) still timely quote: “We have a long, long way to go before racial justice is a reality in our nation. We don’t have to look very far to see this; we have only to open our papers or turn on our televisions.” — Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., from his Dec. 10, 1961 speech at Chapman College.