By Gil Klein
Excerpts of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s National Press Club speech will be aired for the first time since they were delivered 53 years ago at a special 7:30 pm event on Tuesday, Jan. 12, in the Club’s ballroom.
In July 1962 Dr. King became the first African American to speak at the Club. An audio recording was made of the speech and filed away in the Club’s Archives and later transferred to the Library of Congress. No television footage of the speech in its entirety exists.
The Club’s History and Heritage Committee recently retrieved the recording and found it is of significant historical value. Coming just days after Dr. King was released from jail in Albany, Ga., the civil rights leader outlined his vision for non-violent protest as the best way to achieve racial equality.
On Jan. 12, portions of the speech will be played and experts on the civil rights movement will add context and perspective to what Dr. King said. Press Club President John Hughes will unveil a permanent Club memorial to Dr. King’s speech.
“Martin Luther King’s 1962 speech was one of the most important events to ever happen at the National Press Club,” Hughes said. “I am honored this event at long last is getting proper recognition with such distinguished guests.”
Joe Madison, the human and civil rights activist and prominent African American radio host known on SiriusXM’s Urban View channel as “The Black Eagle,” will moderate the program.
It will lead off with Simeon Booker, the National Press Club’s 1982 Fourth Estate Award winner, who was one of the first African Americans to join the Club. He was in the audience for King’s speech and a member of the Club speakers committee that year when the decision to invite King was made.
Commenting on the historical significance of the speech will be:
John Franklin, senior manager in the Office of External Affairs, National Museum of African American History and Culture, Smithsonian Institution.
Judy Richardson, former staff member with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in the 1960s and a documentarian who worked on the 14-hour “Eyes on the Prize,” the Academy Award-nominated PBS Series about the Civil Rights Movement, among other African American historical documentaries.
Courtland Cox, who was a Mississippi organizer during the Civil Rights movement and has worked within the federal government on minority business development. He is president of the SNCC Legacy Board.
WUSA-9 Anchor-Reporter Bruce Johnson will share his observations as a TV journalist who has covered politics, race and urban issues in Washington for nearly 40 years.
The program will be aired on SiriusXM Radio’s Urban View Channel.
Admission is free. Reservations can be made by clicking here: (http://www.press.org/events/dr-martin-luther-king-jrs-lost-speech-national-press-club)