Recording of MLK’s 1st ‘I Have a Dream’ speech discovered

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RALEIGH, N.C. — An English professor has unveiled a recording of what he says is the first time Martin Luther King Jr. said “I Have a Dream” in a public speech.

Months before the civil rights leader gave his famous address at the March on Washington in 1963, he was fine-tuning his message in other venues.

North Carolina State English professor Jason Miller says he discovered the recording of the speech King gave on Nov. 27, 1962, in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. He found it in a library while researching how King drew inspiration from the poetry of Langston Hughes.

Three people in the audience that day in 1962 listened to the recording being played in public for the first time on Tuesday. Dr. Tolokum Omokunde says King’s words flowed like liquid.

Some similarities:

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Deeply rooted:

Rocky Mount: “I have a dream tonight. It is a dream rooted deeply in the American dream.”

Washington: “I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.”

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Created equal:

Rocky Mount: “I have a dream that one day men all over this nation will recognize that all men were created equal and endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights.”

Washington: “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

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Join hands:

Rocky Mount: “I have a dream that one day down in Sasser County, Georgia, where they burned two churches down a few days ago because Negroes wanted to register and vote, one day right down there little black boys and little black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and little white girls and walk the streets as brothers and sisters.”

Washington: “I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of “interposition” and “nullification” — one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.”

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Color of their skin:

Rocky Mount: “I have a dream tonight. One day my little daughter and my two sons will grow up in a world not conscious of the color of their skin but only conscious of the fact that they are members of the human race.”

Washington: “I have a have a dream that my four little children one day will live in a nation where they will be judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

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All of God’s children:

Rocky Mount: “And when this happens all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual … free at last, free at last, thank God almighty we are free at last!”

Washington: “And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”