Exclusive footage of Martin Luther King's 1964 visit to San Dieg - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Exclusive footage of Martin Luther King's 1964 visit to San Diego

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Dr. King's speech at SDSU, May 29, 1964 Dr. King's speech at SDSU, May 29, 1964
16mm archive footage of Dr. King's visit to San Diego 16mm archive footage of Dr. King's visit to San Diego

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (CBS 8) -- It's been five decades since Martin Luther King, Jr. landed at Lindbergh Field and spoke at two colleges in San Diego.

This week, San Diego State University will commemorate King’s historic visit and his address to students at the Open Air Theater.

Unfortunately, few photos and artifacts of Dr. King’s speech remained; that was, until CBS News 8 made an amazing discovery in our archives.

The date was May 29, 1964. Dr. King spoke to a crowd of 4,000 on the San Diego State campus.

The only visual evidence that remained of the appearance was a grainy photograph scanned from an San Diego Union newspaper.  It was shocking to the chair and professor of anthropology at SDSU, Seth Mallios.

“To have such a global icon and such a cultural figure come to State at the apex of his career in 1964 and to have no audio, no video, no photographs of him on campus; it was surprising,” said Mallios.

So, Professor Mallios took his request public for archival materials from Dr. King’s visit.

“I came out and said, ‘I can't find anything. I need help,’” Mallios recalled.

CBS News 8 did a little digging in our archives and we were able to uncover some amazing, half-century-old film footage. We had the 16mm film transferred to video.

“The video from KFMB of Dr. King speaking, that just blew us away that there was actual video,” said Mallios.

The film includes shots King making his speech, crowd footage, and protesters handing out fliers, but no recorded audio of his speech.

Some quotes from King’s speech include, “I am convinced, deep in my heart, that by using non-violence we can turn racial discord into a symphony of brotherhood."

“Segregation is a cancer in the body politic, which must be removed before our nation can be healthy again."

“Laws can't make you love me, but they can keep you from lynching me."

Dr. King also spoke that night to crowd of 5,000 at California Western University, now the site of Point Loma Nazarene University.

“On April 30 at 3:30 p.m., we’re going to have a ceremony honoring Dr. King and we’re going to have a large plaque that will go on the side of the Open Air Theatre in celebration of Dr. King being here,” said Mallios.

The Martin Luther King 50th anniversary celebration will be held at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday at the Open Air Theater's main entrance. Then at 4:30 p.m., the annual SDSU Diversity Gala award ceremony will be held at Montezuma Hall.

It will be a lasting memorial to a moment in time that was almost lost forever.

In addition to the SDSU archive footage, CBS News 8 also uncovered a five minute interview with Dr. King recorded on May 29, 1964 at Lindbergh Field.  The entire interview is posted on this page as bonus video.

We have also posted on this page an earlier Dr. King interview, recorded during a San Diego news conference on June 15, 1962.

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