Avron B. Fogelman Donates Original Handwritten Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Speech to University of Memphis

January 15, 2020 - Philanthropist and University of Memphis supporter Avron B. Fogelman has donated to the UofM the original copy of the historic speech Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered to the General Synod of the United Church of Christ in Chicago on July 6, 1965.

The 20-page typed document, which includes extensive handwritten corrections and additions by Dr. King, was purchased at auction by Fogelman in 2017. He previously loaned the speech to the University for display from March 26-April 13, 2018, as the community observed the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s assassination.

King concluded the speech with the iconic phrase “We shall overcome” – just as he did in his final sermon delivered in Memphis on March 31, 1968. The phrase was a rallying cry for the civil rights movement.

“Today, on the 90th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s birth, we are honored to be the recipient of this significant historical document and extremely grateful for Avron Fogelman’s tremendous generosity,” said UofM President M. David Rudd. “Our students, faculty and staff, as well as our community, were overwhelmed with emotion when viewing the speech Avron allowed us to display during the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s assassination. This speech will be preserved and displayed for the public to be a reminder of Dr. King and the civil rights movement.”

“I am proud to have owned the historic ‘We Shall Overcome’ speech by Dr. Martin Luther King, and I am now ready for it to be on permanent display so everyone can enjoy it and be inspired by it,” said Fogelman. “Because of my many decades of association with the University of Memphis, I’m so pleased that is where it will be displayed in perpetuity.”

Fogelman has been a supporter of the University of Memphis for more than 45 years, since his first gift to the Morris Fogelman Chair of Excellence in Real Estate. More recently, he established the Avron B. Fogelman Center for Professional Career Development in the Fogelman College of Business & Economics.