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Vera Baird QC congratulates Chi Onwurah on securing a Westminster Hall debate to commemorate Martin Luther King visit to Newcastle

1st November 2016

Northumbria’s Police & Crime Commissioner, Vera Baird QC, has congratulated Newcastle Central MP, Chi Onwurah on securing a Westminster Hall debate today to commemorate the visit of Martin Luther King to Newcastle upon Tyne, nearly 49 years to the day when Dr King received his honorary degree from Newcastle University.

Dr King visited the city on the 13th November 1967 to receive an honorary degree – his diary commitments for that day were tight, he was only in the country for 24 hours but he made time to be in the city, to receive his degree from His Grace the Duke of Northumberland, who was at the time the University’s Chancellor.  Dr King then delivered an acceptance speech and as you would expect he captivated the audience as he spoke of his struggle for racial justice.   The presentation of the degree can be seen on Youtube –

Vera Baird said “Chi Onwurah gave a passionate speech in Westminster Hall.  Chi has clear pride in representing the city and the visit to Newcastle University is of immense pride to her and a lot of North East people.

Martin Luther King’s acceptance speech at Newcastle University was from the heart and he was clearly moved by the honour.  During his acceptance speech, he spoke about three urgent problems, the problem of racism, the problem of poverty and the problems of war – all which are still applicable today.  Dr King was a leader in speaking up to address these problems.  Newcastle is rightly proud that it is not afraid to offer support when someone need it and the city has a superb record of racial harmony, different communities living together as one and supporting each other.  As a region, we are committed to equality for all”

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Dr Kings visit to Newcastle, in November 2017, a bronze statue of him has been commissioned by Newcastle University to mark his historic visit to the city.