San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec




San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. almost 60 years after his visit to San Diego State

Deck: Students honor Rev. King’s compelling message after his historic address at SDSU
SDSU+Black+Resource+Centers+float+was+rewarded+the+title+best+float+at+the+41st+annual+Martin+Luther+King+Jr.+Parade+on+Jan.15.
Photo Courtesy of San Diego chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.
SDSU Black Resource Center’s float was rewarded the title best float at the 41st annual Martin Luther King Jr. Parade on Jan.15.

On May 29, 1964, the Open-Air Theatre at San Diego State University overflowed with curiosity that would eventually spark immense change. Students pooled in, wishing to learn more about a peaceful revolution that lives in infamy.

On this day, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. stepped onto campus and delivered a historic address that echoed the spirit of academia upheld by SDSU’s students and faculty. His eloquent and educated speech called for peace, equality and action.  

Presently, SDSU students took the initiative to honor and carry out the lesson Rev. King taught. Shawki Moore, SDSU’s Associated Students President, spoke about Rev. King’s legacy. 

“He is one of the most influential icons that we (the Black community) have,: Moore said. 

To further honor him, many attended the 41st annual Martin Luther King Jr. Parade on Jan. 15 to celebrate his birthday and evergreen legacy. That rainy afternoon, students, military and civic leaders alike marched together from Harbor Drive to the Embarcadero. 

Zeta Sigma Lambda organizes this parade every year. They are a chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha, the oldest African American fraternity in the U.S., and the brotherhood of Rev. King. The fraternity is devoted to keeping Rev. King’s legacy and message alive in the community’s hearts. 

“Dr. King, no matter the oppression he faced, he remained steadfast in his calls,” Moore said. “I think that teaches young Black men and women that no matter what type of oppression we are facing, we too can continue to fight barriers in a way that is respectful, that honors Black culture.”

Out of almost 100 participating floats, SDSU’s Black Resource Center’s float was awarded the title of “Best Float.”  

“That was a very empowering moment for our campus to get the recognition it deserves,”  Moore said. 

Third-year business management and entrepreneurship major Rhyan Pitts shared her thoughts about representation in the community. 

“There are many times when I feel like my community is underrepresented, especially when I get to see all their accomplishments on a daily basis,” Pitts said. “To see them on yet another platform being recognized was the epitome of Black excellence.”

The float, depicting an image of Rev. King, symbolizes how love defeats hate. 

“​​Love harmonizes, releases and illuminates life, and that’s the message Dr. King wanted to portray,” Pitts said. “I feel like the float captures his vision beautifully.” 

Students at the BRC urge their peers and allies to celebrate Black achievements such as this all year.

“February has been widely recognized as Black History Month, and oftentimes, this is one of the only times when our experiences and successes are highlighted,” Pitts said. “While we appreciate the desire to learn and be a part of our community during this time, we are here all year long.”

Rev. King’s message emphasized that change would not come without banding together and recognizing the collective dream of peace. 

“Now man’s moral and ethical commitment must make the world one in terms of brotherhood and peace,” Rev. King said. 

His words in 1964 spurred students and faculty into action. After Rev. King advised his college-age audience to use their vote as an instrument of change, the Civil Rights Bill was passed in July. Today, that message continues to ring as resonant and rousing as the bells in Hepner Hall. 

Students can find information on BRC events on their website and Instagram.

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San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913
Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. almost 60 years after his visit to San Diego State