Organizers of Martin Luther King Jr. Day at Bates College tried to get historian Gary Younge to speak at last year’s MLK Day, but there was a scheduling conflict.

Younge, who writes for the British newspaper “The Guardian,” was covering Barack Obama’s inauguration.

This year, Younge was at Bates, and said he was grateful for the college “sticking with me” and inviting him back.

As he began his speech, sharing what he learned while writing his book, “The Speech: The Story Behind Dr. Martin Luther King’s Jr.’s Dream,” Younge smiled, taking in the moment, the scene.

“We’re in the second whitest state in the union, in a college founded by abolitionists, listening to white men playing jazz,” he said with a British accent. “If there’s ever a question of the ability to transcend categories, here we all are.”

The three men playing jazz were The Three Point Jazz.

Younge said MLK’s 1963 speech is one “we think we know, but do not.” He recommended people listen to it again.

A video of the speech is available on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HRIF4_WzU1w

– Bonnie Washuk


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