#TBT: Columbia Closed Its Doors To Mourn Martin Luther King Jr.’s Passing
Written by Amara Banks
On Tuesday, April 9th, 1968 Spec reported on Columbia’s closure to mourn the death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. College President Grayson Kirk announced the shutdown, closing all campus buildings and cancelling classes after receiving a letter from The Concerned Black Students (an ad hoc group formed on campus). He initially planned on closing Columbia for the part of the day that would disrupt Dr. King’s memorial service (held in St. Paul’s Chapel), but according to Thomas McGoey, vice president for business, their letter persuaded him to close for the entire day. In it they wrote, “we realize that closing University is a dramatic action. But we feel that the crisis in America is an imperative for such action. We would consider anything less than a shutdown of the University as an obvious affront to the memory of Dr. King and the principles he stood for.” Notably, Barnard independently decided to close for the day, and received a similar letter from students.