RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — April of 1960 — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. visits Shaw University.

“One of the things we celebrate at Shaw University is the founding of SNCC. The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. It didn’t just pop up,” said Dr. Valerie Ann Johnson.

Johnson is the Dean of Arts, Sciences and Humanities at Shaw. She said this wasn’t King’s first trip to North Carolina.

“He had been coming to North Carolina. He came a couple of years earlier to Bennett College and spoke there,” Johnson said.

King’s trip to Shaw in 1960 came just one month after the Greensboro sit-ins. He was there to support SNCC at Shaw University.

It consisted of discussions and workshops with King and other leaders. It was organized by civil rights leader Ella Baker.

“(King) was adamant that this would be a non-violent movement and those students took that as a tool that they would employ. That they would use. It wasn’t just we are going to hear Dr. King speak and then we are just going to go out and do something. There were intentional ways in which those students connected to tactics (and) organizing. They came up with their own strategies,” explained Johnson.

In 1966, King returned to Raleigh. He spoke in front of an integrated audience at Reynolds Coliseum at North Carolina State University.

That same year Shaw invited King back. His visits to Raleigh in 1966 were a year after the Civil Rights Act was passed.

More than 50 years after his death, Johnson said the work young people are doing now, is a continuation of King’s legacy.

“The young people we have today are willing to fight for what they believe is right. They are willing to listen. They are not lazy. They may be a little distracted with the TikTok and the social media, but they are also using it as tools,” Johnson explained.

Info on his visit to Raleigh – Martin Luther King Jr.’s Visits to Raleigh | Downtown Raleigh, NC

Info on his visit to Shaw in 1966 – Landmark Exhibit Unearths History | NC State News (ncsu.edu)