Andy Fuller | June 21, 2017
On a morning filled with brilliant sunshine and 70-degree temperatures, University president Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., joined City of South Bend leaders including Mayor Pete Buttigieg and community members in a march from the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center to Leighton Plaza in downtown South Bend. There, a sculpture was unveiled, based on a famous photo showing the late University president Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, C.S.C., holding hands with King during a 1964 civil rights rally in Chicago.
The Wednesday (June 21) march and unveiling ceremony held amid the resplendent beauty of the first day of summer commemorated an event that occurred when the figurative storm clouds of racial inequality darkened the country’s horizon. In remarks at the ceremony, Father Jenkins recalled that many people, if not most whites, viewed King as a controversial figure in his time. And so it was that several prominent figures turned down King’s invitation to attend a rally at Soldier Field in Chicago to promote equality and denounce the murders of civil rights workers in the South.