NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Magician David Copperfield said Wednesday he purchased a newly discovered audiotape of a Martin Luther King Jr. interview and would donate it to the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis to promote the civil rights icon's message of nonviolence.
Copperfield told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he purchased the 1960 tape this week from New York-based collector and broker Keya Morgan, who acquired it from a Chattanooga man.
The clear audio recording includes King discussing the importance of the civil rights movement, his definition of nonviolence and his visit to Africa. An excerpt of the audio released last month on the Internet went viral, and evoked emotions in those who were close to King, such as U.S. Rep. John Lewis who said he was moved to tears after hearing King once again talk about nonviolence.
Copperfield said King inspired people to dream, and the magician's "art is about making people dream."
"The magic of Dr. King was in his message: peace and nonviolence," Copperfield said. "I didn't want this to be hoarded away. I wanted it to be shared with people to continue the message, which is more important today than it's ever been."
He said he chose the National Civil Rights Museum because he thought it was the best fit for the recording, considering the museum is at the site where King was assassinated in 1968.
Beverly Robertson is president of the museum, which is undergoing a multimillion dollar renovation that includes expanding its exhibits.
"We are absolutely honored and thrilled to be receiving this audio that really presents history in the voice of one of the greatest human rights leaders of our time," she said. "There are few places that have King's actual voice integrated into the exhibit, so this is a tremendous enhancement for all of our efforts at the National Civil Rights Museum."
Stephon Tull told the AP last month that he discovered the recording while looking through dusty old boxes in his father's attic in Chattanooga. He said he came across an audio reel labeled, "Dr. King interview, Dec. 21, 1960."
He wasn't sure what he had until he borrowed a friend's reel-to-reel player and listened to the recording of his father interviewing King for a book project that never came to fruition.
Tull said his father, an insurance salesman, had planned to write a book about the racism he encountered growing up in Chattanooga and later as an adult. He said his dad interviewed King when he visited the city, but never completed the book and just stored the recording with some other interviews he had done. Tull's father is now in his early 80s and in hospice care.
Raymond Winbush, director of the Institute for Urban Research at Maryland's Morgan State University, said he was pleased the recording would be preserved at a museum and hoped the same would be done for other artifacts found in the future.
"I think while we can exhale about this, hopefully in the future when we get some national treasures like this that it will always be available for people to see for history's sake, rather than just held onto … then sold at some enormous price," said Winbush, who is also a psychologist and historian.
Copperfield didn't disclose the price, but Morgan appraised the tape at $100,000.
Morgan, an expert on historical artifacts who arranged the private sale of the recording, said he was fortunate to find someone like Copperfield willing to donate it.
"He's extremely generous," Morgan said of Copperfield. "He didn't think twice before … donating it to a major institution."
Also On Black America Web:
This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (10/15-10/21)
31 photos Launch gallery
1. Just a NY girl with BIG dreams....
1 of 31
2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
2 of 31
3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
3 of 31
4. Glam on point!!!@makeupbymotoko & @shaylinjoneshair #easybreezy @lifetimetv #beachesmovie #january2017 😘
4 of 31
5. ✨True love ✨📸: @jessiemarrerophotography
5 of 31
6 of 31
7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
7 of 31
8 of 31
9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
9 of 31
10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
10 of 31
11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
11 of 31
12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
12 of 31
13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
13 of 31
14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
14 of 31
15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
15 of 31
16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
16 of 31
17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
17 of 31
18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
18 of 31
19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
19 of 31
20. #She💋 #tbt #TheCoveAtTheAtlantis #DawgPawsAndAll
20 of 31
21. Bae #retailtherapy
21 of 31
22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
22 of 31
23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
23 of 31
24. Diggy Simmons
24 of 31
25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
25 of 31
26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
26 of 31
27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
27 of 31
28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
28 of 31
29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
29 of 31
30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
30 of 31
31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
31 of 31