When I was a fresher, we used to drink in the Mens bar. I blogged a bit about it a couple of years ago. It wasn’t some exclusive male-only venue, it was a shortened form of the Latin motto – Mens Agitat Molem – Mind moves mountain. But, there was confusion among the confused and the Mens Bar monicker had to give way to something less ambiguous. So, there’s now a swanky new bar in the Student Union called “Luther’s”, like it’s some 80s nightclub. Gone are the wood-panelled walls (actually they went decades ago) and in with the trendy tables and seating.
We paid it a visit last week, aside from some non-student youngsters queuing for local singer-songwriter Sam Fender, there was nobody partaking of the facilities but us. Anyway, it’s named Luther’s after Dr Martin Luther King Jr who received an honorary degree from my alma mater, the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne back in 1967.
Newcastle was the only UK institution to bestow such an honour on him. He ad-libbed one of his most poignant speeches in accepting the degree. I suppose they could’ve called it Martin’s but that sounds a bit modern, and given than Newcastle used to be King’s College, Durham, King’s wouldn’t have really worked either. So, Luther’s it is.
There was both a red and a white Poppy deposited in the statue’s cap.
Here’s the film of MLK receiving his honorary degree from NCL in November 1967, cued for the start of his speech: