Published: September 14, 2021
VILLANOVA, PENN. — George Raveling was on the mall in Washington, DC on August 28, 1963, where he agreed to volunteer as security during the March on Washington. It was the day that Martin Luther King Jr would give his famed “I Have A Dream” speech.
“In a stroke of luck, fate or coincidence, Raveling found himself face-to-face with King just after he spoke and asked for the copy of his speech. King obliged, and Raveling has been in possession of the speech for the past 58 years,” The Villanovan wrote.
Raveling graduated from Villanova in 1960 and played on the school’s men’s basketball team, later serving as an assistant coach.
On August 27, he donated the original copy of the “I Have A Dream Speech” to his alma mater. Raveling reportedly held dear the university’s Augustinian values of justice, inclusion and action.
Villanova will collaborate with the Smithsonian and the National Museum of African American History, where it will go on display.
Critics may wonder why Raveling chose Villanova, even if it was his alma mater. The school’s student body is 74 percent white and only five percent Black. The University has such a lopsided demographic that it has earned the nickname, “Vanillanova.”
Terry Nance, the chief diversity officer at the school, told The Villanovan, “Our mission is not an inactive one — it calls us to action and to serve the underserved,” Nance said. “Likewise, the speech should be calling us to become a beacon of change. Real change, ideal change, doesn’t happen if you don’t take time to dream.”
Ed note: an earlier version of this story said Raveling was deceased. He is not and we regret the error.
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