Basketball star Earvin “Magic” Johnson will be speaking on the importance of remembering Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy and historic speech at ASU during the height of the civil rights movement. The NBA legend will reflect on the Civil Rights movement in his life as an athlete, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and healthcare advocate. 

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When: Monday, June 3, 2024, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. (MST)

Where: Student Pavilion, 400 E Orange Street Tempe AZ 8528


Background: On June 3, 1964, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stirred an audience of 8,000 in Tempe, Arizona, encouraging people to embrace the hard work of universal kinship and empathy. Prominent local leaders, including ASU Alumni Lincoln Ragsdale, Sr. and George Brooks, Sr., had invited him to deliver his message of hope. ASU President Homer Durham welcomed the opportunity to provide a venue large enough to hold the eager crowd, despite pressure to deny the request. On that day, King urged Congress to pass a far-reaching bill, the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 which cleared a path for the vibrant, diverse communities we enjoy today. 

Before Johnson’s speech, ASU is hosting the unveiling of a commemorative display from 4:00 pm – 6:00 p.m. at Durham Hall on ASU’s Tempe campus. Interact with the archivists, public historians, and students who researched and designed the display. 

Be inspired by Benjamin Thomas, Pastor of the Historic Tanner Chapel in Phoenix, the church that hosted King in Phoenix. Listen to Pastor Warren Stewart describe the victorious effort to enshrine the MLK state holiday in Arizona. Additionally, learn about the renaming of Ragsdale–MLK Park from Tempe Mayor and ASU Alumnus Corey Woods.