Tag: Lincoln Memorial

Early Recording Found of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” Speech

“It is awe-inspiring and gives you goosebumps on your arms,” Jason Miller, a poetry professor at North Carolina State University, told USA TODAY Network about hearing the recording for the first time.

King gave the speech on Nov. 27, 1962, before a crowd of about 1,800 people in Rocky Mount, N.C. While the Rocky Mount speech is not as well known, it includes many similarities to the famous August 1963 version King gave from the Lincoln Memorial.

The Rocky Mount speech was covered by local newspapers, but an audio recording was not known to exist until Miller found it while researching his book Origins of a Dream: Hughes’s Poetry and King’s RhetoricThe book explores the connection between Langston Hughes’s poetry and King’s speeches.

The box where the tape was found was rusted and the plastic reel was broken, but the recording itself was in great shape and has been digitized, Miller said. The tape is 55 minutes long and includes three of King’s most famous phrases — “Let freedom ring,” “How long, not long,” and “I have a dream.”

Miller said that kind of intentional rhetorical practice is a sign of a “master orator.”  In the process of researching, Miller was able to confirm that Hughes’ work, and specifically the poem “I dream a world,” influenced King’s speeches.  “They knew each other, exchanged letters and Dr. King incredibly revered Langston Hughes,” he said.

Understanding what inspired King’s words and how they changed over time is important, according to Miller. “It sheds light on what is easily the most recognizable speech in American history,” he said.

And the message of King’s Rocky Mount speech holds up today, he said.  “The central part of Dr. King’s speech was talking about access to the ballot and voting rights,” he said. “And as you know that’s as important today as it was in 1962.”

Miller is working on an online annotated version of the Rocky Mount speech that will be published for the public in November.

article by Lori Grisham via usatoday.com

MUST WATCH: President Barack Obama’s March on Washington Speech Today (VIDEO)

29obama-articleLargeOn the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, President Barack Obama honored the legacy and spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with his own inspired speech this afternoon, echoing the call to freedom and justice that King’s own “I Have A Dream” speech did 50 years ago today.  Obama’s speech was the culmination of a full day of celebration of the March on Washington’s golden anniversary.  Watch his entire address above.

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson

Born On This Day in 1897: Opera Legend Marian Anderson

Marian Anderson, who became one of the most celebrated singers during the 20th century, was born on Feb. 27, 1897, in Philadelphia, PA.  She began singing in church at 6 years old. Impressed by Anderson’s dedication to perfecting her talents, her church choir raised money for her to take vocal lessons for two years. Anderson soon won a chance to perform at Lewisohn Stadium in New York, and more opportunities followed. 

President Franklin Roosevelt and wife Eleanor invited her to perform at the White House in 1936. In 1939, she faced discrimination from the Daughters of the American Revolution, who did not want her to perform at D.C.’s Constitution Hall. When Eleanor Roosevelt heard of this, she invited Anderson to perform at the Lincoln Memorial.

The singer made history in 1955 as the first African-American to perform as a member of the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1963.  Anderson passed away at the age of 96 in 1993.

article by Natelege Whaley via bet.com