The launch of Martin Luther King in Newcastle: The African American Freedom Struggle and Race Relations in the North East of England
City Library, Newcastle, Bewick Hall.
Brian Ward – Historian and Professor of American Studies at the University of Northumbria
This book tells the inside story of King’s visit. It explains why he was invited, describes the events of the day itself, and investigates why King flew across the Atlantic to spend less than eleven hours in a city that he knew little about in the midst of his brutal work schedule and at a time of enormous professional strain and personal doubt.
The book places King’s visit within another lost history: the history of links between the #AfricanAmerican freedom struggle and the North East. It not only shows how King was one of many distinguished African American visitors to the region, including #OlaudahEquiano and #FrederickDouglass before him and #MuhammadAli and #HarryBelafonte afterwards, but also explains how those connections influenced the development of #racerelations in the region.
Praise for Martin Luther King in Newcastle upon Tyne
A fascinating book about a forgotten slice of Newcastle and American history that has much to teach us about race relations in the 21st century. The continuing importance of the message #MartinLutherKing brought to Newcastle in 1967 shines through on every page.
Shaka Hislop, Newcastle United 1995-1998, Show Racism the Red Card
As a young kid I was drawn to the sound of southern black America, I followed the path of the many great bluesmen who came to perform in my home city of Newcastle, to find my own. The North East has always embraced black Americans and I was very proud that we recognised the brilliance and importance of Martin Luther King and later Muhammad Ali, who had his marriage blessed by an Imam in a South Shields mosque. This book explains the history and politics behind those visits and reminds us that Martin Luther King’s message is as vital today as it ever was – and I, too, still have a dream…
Brian Ward makes Martin Luther King, Jr.’s visit to Newcastle upon Tyne in 1967 the starting point for an impressively authoritative and breathtakingly sweeping examination of the city’s and region’s engagement with global struggles for freedom and equality over several centuries. Packed with expert analysis, insightful examples and surprising connections, Ward compellingly argues that past #racial and #ethnic relations profoundly inform the present and still remain tellingly relevant today.
John A. Kirk, George W. Donaghey, Distinguished Professor of History and Director of the Anderson Institute on Race and Ethnicity, University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
Brian Ward reveals for the first time the full inside story of Martin Luther King’s historic 1967 visit to Newcastle, placing it within the context of King’s own career and a long tradition of progressive social activism on Tyneside and across the North East. Equally important, Ward’s book helps to recover the history of racial, ethnic and religious diversity on Tyneside, along with the region’s many international connections. This important book is as timely as it is compelling.
Chi Onwurah, Member of Parliament for Newcastle upon Tyne Central
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Brian Ward is Professor in American Studies at Northumbria University and currently Chair of the British Association for American Studies. He has previously taught at the Universities of Durham, #Newcastle upon Tyne, Florida and #Manchester. Among his many publications are the multiple award-winning books Just My Soul Responding: Rhythm and Blues, Black Consciousness and Race Relations (1998) and Radio and the Struggle for #CivilRights in the South (2004).