Several recordings of public appearances by Martin Luther King, Jr. have recently been uncovered at PHS. In honor of Martin Luther King Day, we’d like to share parts of them with you.
On September 21, 1966, three thousand people packed the Hartley-Woods Gymnasium of Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina to hear Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Our recording, a seven inch open-reel tape running 69 minutes, was contained in the official records of Board of National Missions General Secretary Kenneth Neigh. Until August 2010, a group of 92 boxes including personal papers of Neigh’s and official records of his deputy Mildred Herman were housed at Princeton Theological Seminary. In processing Neigh’s official records, PHS Collection Management Archivist Bill Brock came across a box full of open-reel tapes. Upon examination, he found one marked “MLK Speech at Charlotte.” Consulting with archivists at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, Bill found a program from King’s speech and was able to confirm that PHS’s tape was from the same event.