Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spent two days at Groton School in February 1963—a visit that opened students’ minds and inspired several to pursue civil rights advocacy on their own.
Over a two-day visit, Dr. King preached in the Chapel, gave an evening lecture, and met with students for informal discussion. Six weeks later, he would be arrested in Alabama and pen his famous “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” Six months later, during the March on Washington, he would deliver his “I Have a Dream” speech. Themes and a few key phrases overlap between the Groton speech and the “I Have a Dream” speech.
The Reverend John Crocker, Groton headmaster from 1940–65 and a staunch advocate for civil rights and social justice, had extended the invitation to Dr. King.
Former students, who wish to remain anonymous, recorded Dr. King’s evening lecture and gave the recording to the school. Thanks to their generosity, and the kind permission granted by the Estate of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Groton School is honored to share this speech—an important moment in the annals of Groton history and, more important, of United States history.
The following recording begins with an introduction by former Headmaster Jack Crocker and ends with a question-and-answer session that followed the speech.