Mrs. King To Give Class Day Speech
Mrs. Martin Luther King will take the place of her late husband as a speaker at Class Day on June 12.
The 1968 Class Committee had originally invited King as its own guest speaker to discuss the issues of civil rights and the Vietnam war.
But after King was assassinated on April 4 in Memphis, Tenn.--only a week after he accepted the Harvard engagement--the Committee extended the invitation to Mrs. King, and she has acceped.
"Whenever it was impossible for my husband to be in a place where he wanted to be and felt he needed to be," Mrs. King said after the assassination, "he occasionally sent me to stand in for him."
The Class Committee and Administration representatives will meet tonight to work out the final format for Mrs. King's visit.
King's address, which was originally expected to deal with what the Committee called in its invitation letter "Asian conflict and urban crisis," had been scheduled for the morning of Class Day in the Sever Quandrangle. But it is understood that Mrs. King's remarks may be brief, and the Committee may change its plans for the speech.
The King invitation was the first time that a senior class had invited its own speaker to Commencement ceremonies.
Members of the Class Committee and of an ad hoc group of seniors that first suggested a guest speaker have said that the purpose of the speech was to insure that the questions of war and peace were touched on during Commencement week, and to dramatize the singularity of a year in which many seniors face immediate induction.
Class Day has traditionally been reserved for orations and skits, although Dean Ford attacked the Vietnam conflict as "a bum war" in his Class Day speech last year.
Unaware of Plans
At the time of her husband's death, Mrs. King was unaware of his plans to speak at Harvard, according to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference office in Atlanta, King was president of SCLC.
But she consented to appear in his stead when the Class Committee contacted her through a personal friend at Harvard.