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Politics and social justice

Political activism runs deep in the Bay Area and the Cow Palace has hosted the spectrum of American politics over the years. For a complete list of the political events of all types at the Cow Palace, check out the Cow Palace Politics timeline.

The struggle for civil rights

On May 30, 1964, as national tensions continued to rise over civil rights, the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. spoke at the Cow Palace to the interfaith Human Dignity rally. He returned in July of that year to address the Republican National Convention Platform Committee to persuade the GOP to include civil rights language in the party platform. The Republicans shunned MLK's ideas and nominated Barry Goldwater.

While civil rights marchers protested outside the Cow Palace, the KKK rallied at San Francisco City Hall in support of Goldwater.

More about the 1964 U.S. presidential election

Martin Luther King, Jr., speaks about the political landscape in 1964.

A vision for the future

Senator John F. Kennedy spoke at the Cow Palace on November 2, 1960, just before the election. 


His famous speech, "Staffing a Foreign Policy for Peace", presented Kennedy's proposal for a Peace Corps and outlined the new agency he envisioned as essential for countering global Soviet influence during the Cold War.

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