King’s Bridgeport Visits

King at the Klein Memorial Auditorium, March 1964
King at the Klein Memorial Auditorium, March 1964

From Mary Witkowski, Bridgeport city historian:

The Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. visited Bridgeport at least five times. In March of 1961, King spoke at the Klein Memorial Auditorium.

In the speech, King called on President John F. Kennedy to strongly enforce the civil rights laws.

In June 1961, King returned to the City to receive an honorary doctorate in law from the University of Bridgeport.

In March 1964, an even larger audience at Klein Auditorium heard King call for the passage of the Civil Rights Act.

On January 15, 1962, about 1,300 people attended the rally in Central High School Auditorium. “We have to live together when the battle is over,” he told students and other residents.

On April 8, 1968, four days after King’s assassination in Memphis, Tenn., an overcrowded Klein Auditorium participated in a memorial service for the slain leader.



  1. “The ultimate measure of a man …” by Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.

    “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

    “Cowardice asks the question, ‘Is it safe?’ Expediency asks the question, ‘Is it politic?’ Vanity asks the question, ‘Is it popular?’ But, conscience asks the question, ‘Is it right?’ And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take it because one’s conscience tells one that it is right.”

  2. The words of Reverend Martin Luther King are words to study, to understand their meaning in the context of the times when they were said, and to be believed as witness to his presence in our time.

    I also find the following words to be helpful as I meet others:

    “Every human being
    has a great, yet often unknown gift
    to care,
    to be compassionate,
    to become present to the other,
    to listen, to hear and
    to receive.

    If that gift would be set free–
    and made available,–
    miracles could take place.”

    Henri J.M. Nouwen


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