The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Real Talk: A Discussion of MLK’s SMU Address

Mikaila Neverson
Brandon Kitchin explaining Dr. King’s address to SMU. Dallas, Wednesday January 24, 2024.

Last Wednesday, members of the SMU community gathered in the Chambers for a Real Talk hosted by the office of Social Change and Intercultural Engagement, and discussed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s address to SMU on March 17, 1966.

His speech at SMU came one year after his march from Montgomery to Selma, Alabama on March 7, 1965.

The Real Talk is an opportunity for students, faculty and members of the SMU community to gather and discuss issues relevant to our context.

Facilitated by Social Change Coordinator, Brandon Kitchin, his presentation began with an overview of some of the main themes Dr. King’s speech touched on. Then the floor was opened up for discussion.

Dr. King’s visit to SMU was initiated by the Student Senate on August 4, 1965. Dr. King didn’t arrive until the next year.

Texas has a tumultuous history with race relations and this was the main deciding factor for Dr. King to speak on SMU’s campus.

There was buzz surrounding his visit, but members of the Black community advised against his arrival for fears of ruffling people’s feathers in the Dallas community.

Kitchin explained that Dr. King wanted to come earlier, but there was a tense political climate in Texas. Dr. King did not come unless he had a guarantee from SMU’s president that he could be on campus safely.

Once Dr. King received the president’s approval, he arrived on campus.

The discussion hit hot topics such as racial relations, tokenism and equality–in Dr. King’s speech and in today’s world.

SMU student, Kennedy Austin, shared her favorite part of the seminar was the conversation-based format of the Real Talk. Additionally, she explained her thoughts about tokenism—a big part of the discussion.

“My biggest takeaway was the discussion around tokenism and how it is a little dangerous,” Austin said. “It puts you in a box and confines you to one space that usually makes other people more comfortable. Those ‘other people’ being people who have a higher place in society.”

Kitchin says he thoroughly enjoyed this Real Talk and hopes that students and other members of the SMU community will continue to join him as they unpack societal issues through this series.

“I do hope to see continued growth in both awareness and interest in opportunities like Real Talk for all members of the SMU community to come together to engage in conversation and reflection with one another regarding various issues in society,” Kitchin said.

Join the SCIE office for their next Real Talk: The Superhero Complex, Tuesday February 20, from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. in Hughes-Trigg.

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About the Contributor
Mikaila Neverson, News Editor
As news editor, Mikaila covers issues and events that affect students on campus. She keeps students updated on the news that matters most. Whether it be breaking news or campus events, she keeps students updated with what they need to know. She also has a penchant for podcasting and food writing.