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Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Historic Visits to Winston-Salem and Greensboro

Did you know Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. visited Winston-Salem and Greensboro multiple times during the Civil Rights Movement? Continue reading to discover more about his visits and learn about upcoming events that commemorate his legacy.

Martin Luther King visits Winston-Salem. (Winston-Salem Journal)
Martin Luther King visits Winston-Salem. (Winston-Salem Journal)

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Winston-Salem Visits

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s first visit to Winston-Salem was on October 11, 1962. He gave a speech at Wake Forest University’s Wait Chapel about the integration of the South, which was timely considering the school had just admitted its first Black student that year.

You can listen to the speech he delivered exclusively at the Z. Smith Reynolds Library on Wake Forest’s campus.

The second time Dr. King visited Winston-Salem was on April 13, 1964, at Goler Metropolitan AME Zion Church. Over 1,000 people attended to hear his speech, which focused on voting and nonviolent protests.

Pro-tip: You can visit the church to find a marker commemorating the event.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Greensboro Visit

In February 1958, Dr. King spoke at Pfeiffer Chapel at Bennett College in Greensboro – a historically Black school – about elections and the two major parties. While at Bennett College, King spoke with student reporters from the school paper. The interview was recorded and you can read the written transcript.

He was supposed to visit Greensboro again on April 4, 1968. His plans changed at the last minute and he decided to stay in Memphis longer, where he was assassinated on April 3, 1968.

Martin Luther King, Jr. 2024 Events

Several events are taking place to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life and legacy in the Triad. Here are a few highlights, but you can read more in our Winston-Salem newsletter or Greensboro newsletter!

  • High Point MLK Celebration Weekend | Various locations | January 12-15
    The City of High Point hosts various events this weekend including an MLK Parade and MLK Day Breakfast + Service.
  • MLK Day of Service | Barber Park | January 14 | 1-4 PM
    Live out Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s commitment to service through The Volunteer Center’s annual event, which includes service projects, a non-profit fair, a children’s area, community art, and more.
  • United Way of Forsyth County Day of Service | Ashley Academy | January 15 | Times vary | Clean up the elementary school’s greenhouse, stock the food pantry, or sort and organize the clothing pantry to benefit families and students.
  • MLK Day Celebration | Hanesbrand Theatre | January 15 | 7 PM
    Marvel at a showcase of talent from across the Triad. The event is free to guests with three non-perishable food donations benefiting Second Harvest Food Bank.
  • MLK Memorial Event | Koury Convention Center | January 15 | 7:30 AM
    Greensboro’s Human Rights Commission hosts a breakfast featuring keynote speaker Kenneth B. Morris, the co-founder and president of Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives (FDFI).
  • MLK Day Parade | Benbow Professional Center Building | January 15 | 11 AM
    The Greensboro NAACP’s MLK Day Parade honors the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The sign-up deadline to be in the parade is January 12 by 5 PM.
  • The Mountaintop | The Little Theatre of Winston-Salem | January 19-21
    Watch this reimagining of the events the night before Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination.
  • MLK Jr. Pop-up Salon | Robert L. Strickland Center Auditorium | January 20 – February 22 | 8 AM – 6 PM
    Take a self-guided tour that explores the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through his speeches, local connections, and interview videos with locals.
  • MLK Day Read-In | Winston-Salem State University | January 20 | 10 AM – 12 PM
    Children K-5th grade are paired with a “Reading Buddy” who leads them through educational activities. Each child receives a civil rights-themed book.


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The Go-To Winston-Salem

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