In a pile of reel-to-reel cassette tapes in an Arizona Goodwill store, was a rare taped recording of a speech made by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The woman who found it, Mary Scanlon, had no idea the tape was rare when she bought it for $3. Dr. King made the speech at Arizona State University and  Tanner Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1964.

Ironically, Arizona was the same state that refused to recognize Martin Luther King Jr. day as a real holiday. Only years later did Arizona rescind the decision, becoming the first state with a voter-approved King holiday in 1992.

The original recording was owned by late civil rights activist Lincoln Ragsdale. Ragsdale sent the tapes to be digitized somewhere in Kentucky and somehow they ended up in the Arizona Goodwill store.

Dr. King gave his speech entitled “Religious Witness for Human Dignity,”  to a crowd of 8,000 at Goodwin Stadium, months prior to the passage of the Civil Rights Act. Since finding the rare piece of history, Mary Scanlon kindly donated the tape to Arizona State and it is now available online until the end of June.

At the same school in which Dr. King spoke in 1964 delivering a message of hope and civil rights for all people of color, a chapter of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity, a white fraternity, was banned from the school after they were cited for a MLK day celebration featuring racially offensive epithets.

(Photo: AP)

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2 thoughts on “Little Known Black History Fact: Rare MLK Speech Tape

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