In 1965, as a part of the Festival of Grace, celebrating the 1964 completion and consecration of Grace Cathedral, Bishop James Pike invited Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to visit and preach at Grace Cathedral.

Dr. King accepted and the date was set; March 28th, the fourth Sunday of Lent.

Crowds already surged around the Cathedral by early morning, and by 10:00 am the building was packed. Grace Cathedral had never before seen so many people, most of them African-American. Crowds filled the front stairs, plaza, Cathedral House, and parking lot. Approximately 5000 people were present, and it was not until the memorial service following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks that a crowd of similar size gathered at Grace Cathedral.

 

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