Dr. King made a speech at the university saying that although legislation cannot alter a man’s belief, it could prevent that man from lynching him
Following Dr. King’s honorary reception of a Doctorate degree (Civil Law) at the University of Newcastle, he made a speech to the large audience gathered.
Dr. King is noted as the very first Negro American to receive such an honor from the university, or Durham, the parent university of Newcastle.
Dr. King expressed how honored he felt to receive the degree, and that it would allow him to maintain his vitality and courage in continuing to struggle to establish a reality of justice and peace. He added that every person who had stood beside him in his struggles were also honored.
During the speech, Dr. King mentioned that until racialism became a thing of the past – totally eradicated – there would never be an opportunity for humanity to attain total political, social, and moral maturity.
Dr. King warned that the idea alone that any particular race was superior or inferior to another was sheer genocide, and any individual who would have a problem with another based on the color of his or her skin was, in essence, declaring that God himself was guilty of a “creative error”.
King emphasizes the difference between a change of view and a change of legislation
Dr. King went on to say that although changing legislation could not force any man to love or respect another, it could stop men from doing physical harm to another individual based on their race.
Dr. King also warned Britain of the growing potential of racialism and made a plea for legislation to prevent discrimination in schools, jobs, and housing and encourage an open-minded education program to stop racism from developing at the root.