A statue of Martin Luther King has been unveiled at Newcastle University by a friend of his that joined the civil rights leader on a visit to the city 50 years ago.

The two metre tall bronze statue was commissioned to mark the anniversary of Dr King’s trip to the university to accept an honorary degree.

It was unveiled by Andrew Young, a close friend and colleague of Dr King’s, who served as a congressman and then as the US Ambassador to the United Nations.

Freedom City 2017A new statue of Martin Luther King that has been unveiled at Newcastle University to mark the 50th anniversary of a speech he gave there in 1967 (Newcastle University/PA)

The base of the statue is encircled by bronze lettering inset into the paving, featuring text taken from the speech he gave while accepting his degree in 1967.

It would turn out to be Dr King’s last public address outside the US, as he was assassinated six months later.

Freedom City 2017Martin Luther King Jr receiving an honorary degree from Newcastle University (Derek Hawes/Newcastle University/PA)

Professor Eric Cross, Dean of Cultural Affairs, said: “This statue is a lasting tribute to the values that Dr King stood for and a unique record of one of the most significant moments in the university’s history.

“Sadly, the challenges of racism, poverty and war are still relevant to this day. Having a statue of such an inspirational figure as Dr King on our campus will remind all visitors to the university of our commitment to social justice and the need to keep Dr King’s legacy alive.”

Freedom City 2017Andrew Young, a close friend and colleague of Martin Luther King unveiled the statue (Newcastle University/PA)

Andrew Young, a close friend and colleague of Martin Luther King, after he unveiled the new statueThe unveiling was attended by more than 100 guests, including Robert A. Brown, the President of Boston University.

Sculptor Nigel Boonham said: “It was a privilege to be asked to make a statue of Dr Martin Luther King Jr – he is a gift to a sculptor.

“I searched for the essence of the man by collecting and studying over 100 black and white photographs as well as listening to his speeches.”