On April 27, 1965, a crowd of 4,500 UCLA students, alumni, faculty and staff stood at the foot of Janss Steps to hear Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speak. News cameras carried his message to hundreds of thousands more throughout Southern California.
The speech introduced a voter registration initiative known as SCOPE, for Summer Community Organization and Political Educational Project. In spite of the danger, threats and intimidation surrounding such efforts, UCLA students and alumni were inspired to volunteer. To commemorate the event, UCLA has installed a permanent plaque near the base of Janss Steps and will formally unveil it as part of UCLA Alumni Day 2011 this Saturday, May 21.