Martin Luther King Jr. visits Baltimore

Another famous person who was at the Lord Baltimore Hotel was civil-rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. A photo from the Baltimore Sun shows King speaking into a microphone during a press conference at the hotel.

King visited Baltimore numerous times in the 1950’s and 60’s. There is a timeline of his visits from the University of Baltimore archive here, which describes the 1965 visit to Baltimore:

“King, following a meeting in Baltimore of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, announces plans to launch a new drive to register Negroes in the South.”

It also includes descriptions of a 1958 visit:

Martin Luther King Jr. is awarded an honorary degree – doctor of law — at Morgan State College along with three others including two Baltimoreans, Jacob Blaustein and Walter Sondheim Jr. King was the principal speaker before 3,000 gathered at Hughes Memorial Stadium on the Morgan campus.”

As well as a harrowing 1963 visit (Baltimore Sun picture here):

“King speaks during the Baltimore Freedom Rally before a crowd of more than 8,000 at the Baltimore Civic Center. During the rally an anonymous bomb threat was called in. A search by police and fire crews found nothing. The crowd was not informed.”

The King Center has a copy of a column that ran in the Baltimore Sun, of excerpts from a King speech in Chicago:

“All of this reveals that our nation has not yet used its vast resources of power to end the long night of poverty, racism and man’s inhumanity to man. Enlarged power means enlarged peril if there is not concomitant growth of the soul. Genuine power is the right use of strength. If our nation’s strength is not used responsibly and with restraint, it will be, following Acton’s dictum, power that tends to corrupt and absolute power that corrupts absolutely.

Our arrogance can be our doom. It can bring the curtains down on our national drama. Ultimately, a great nation is a compassionate nation. We are challenged in these turbulent days to use our power to speed up the day when “every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain.””

Finally, a photo of King in Baltimore after winning the Nobel Peace Prize.

Were you at the press conference at the Lord Baltimore Hotel in 1965? Write to stories@lordbaltimorehotel.com

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