Bethel’s Martin Luther King Jr. celebration draws international attention
Local, national and international media reported on Bethel’s special Jan. 18 anniversary celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. speaking at the college 50 years ago.
The three primary Wichita television news stations -- KAKE, KSN and KWCH -- plus others covered the 1 p.m. premiere playing of the rediscovered recording of King’s speech. Cameras focused on an attentive overflow crowd in Krehbiel Auditorium. Later, the KSN satellite truck beamed a live evening news report from in front of Memorial Hall, where King had spoken Jan. 21, 1960.
National Public Radio affiliate KMUW, Wichita, produced a story that not only played locally, but was picked up nationally and broadcast on Morning Edition that Monday, which was the national King holiday. Print and audio versions of the KMUW story are posted on the NPR Web site.
Other media ran print and audio coverage, as well, including De Stad Nijkerk in The Netherlands.
Hundreds of people came to campus to listen to the recording; hear alumni share their experiences as audience members at King’s lecture at Bethel, as Civil Rights activists and as exchange students at Spelman College, Atlanta; dedicate a plaque in Memorial Hall; hear jazz and view an art exhibit; and hear King colleague Vincent Harding speak in the evening.
A CD and transcript of King’s talk are in the Mennonite Library and Archives on campus, where they may be used for research purposes. The college is working with the King Estate to enable Web site visitors to listen to the speech and view the transcript online.