Chennai, Lanka students discuss Martin Luther King's visit to South India

In commemoration of African-American History Month, the US Consulate General Chennai in association with the Presidency College screened a documentary about Dr Martin Luther King’s famous I Have a Dream speech and reflected on the legacy of Dr Martin Luther King, Jr at the Presidency College in Chennai. Presidency College students were joined by students from Sri Lanka’s University of Jaffna, who participated via digital video conference.

Sixty years ago this month, Dr. King, the leader of the American Civil Rights Movement visited Chennai (then known as Madras).  During his visit, he addressed the Presidency College students in Hall M-28 on February 18, 1959.  Today’s program was held in the same hall. The U.S. Consulate General’s Cultural Affairs Officer Moulik Berkana moderated the discussion and said, “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. made a lasting impact on American society because of his leadership in the struggle for dignity and equality for all.  Dr. King was inspired by Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. King traveled to India in 1959 to better understand Gandhi’s work and to pay homage to this great soul.  A new generation of young people are in turn inspired by these two great leaders.”

The March is a renowned documentary film that recounts the historic 1963 March on Washington, D.C. for Jobs and Freedom.  It was on this occasion that King delivered his famous I Have a Dream speech. National African-American History Month, celebrated every February, is an occasion to rediscover and recognize the enduring stories of African-Americans and the gifts of freedom, purpose, and opportunity they have bestowed on future generations.  It is also a time to commemorate the countless contributions of African-Americans, many of whom lived through and surmounted the scourge of segregation, racial prejudice, and discrimination to enrich every fiber of American life.  Their examples of heroism, patriotism, and enterprise have given people of all backgrounds confidence, courage, and faith to pursue their own dreams.