This year sees the city of Newcastle host a cultural celebration, known as Freedom City 2017, to mark the 50th anniversary of Dr Martin Luther King receiving an honorary degree from Newcastle University.

Martin Luther King

The celebrations will remember King’s passionate and moving acceptance speech he delivered at Newcastle University on 13th November 1967 after receiving his honorary degree.

The year’s events will also explore the themes the Civil Rights movement leader called the three “urgent and indeed great problems”: war, poverty and racism. 

Freedom City 2017 will feature large-scale outdoor events, a city-wide cultural programme including an exhibition at the Great North Museum and a musical celebration of Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights movement.

There will also be an education and academic programme delivered by Newcastle University.

Freedom City on the Tyne

Freedom City 2017 will culminate in November with a series of cultural events including Freedom City on the Tyne, a day-long series of performances commemorating historic civil rights marches from across the world.

Taking inspiration from passion plays, Freedom City on the Tyne will see community groups, local performers and members of the public join international artists and performers in a mass participation event that will end with a march of thousands on the Newcastle and Gateshead quayside.

Watch Martin Luther King’s honorary degree acceptance speech, which warned of the risk of creating ghettos in the UK and the dangers of everyday racism, here:

The speech at Newcastle University was Martin Luther King’s final public address outside of America before his assassination on 4th April 1968.

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