In July 1962, Dr. martin luther king became the first African American to speak at a National Press Club luncheon program, the iconic forum that began with Franklin D. Roosevelt as its first speaker. An audio recording was made of Dr. King’s 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.
On Tuesday, January 12 at 7:30p.m., the Press Club will play excerpts of the speech for the first time since they were delivered 53 years ago. The event will be in the Ballroom where King spoke in ’62. Press coverage is welcome. The program will air on SiriusXM Radio’s Urban View Channel and will be streamed live on press.org.
The Club’s History & 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.
During the event on the 12th experts on the civil rights movement will add context and perspective to Dr. King’s historic speech. 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 pleased this event at long last is getting proper recognition and honored that we are being joined by such distinguished guests.”
Joe Madison, the human rights activist and prominent radio host known on Sirius XM’s Urban View channel as “The Black Eagle” will moderate the program. Simeon Booker, the 1982 National Press Club Fourth Estate Award Winner who was one of the first African American members of the Club will lead off. Booker was a member of the Club’s Speakers Committee in 1962 when the decision to invite Dr. 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 popular and acclaimed PBS series on the civil rights movement.
Courtland Cox, who is president of the SNCC Legacy Board and was a Mississippi organizer during the civil rights movement. Cox also worked in the federal government on minority business development for much of his career.
Bruce Johnson, WUSA-9 Anchor/Reporter. Johnson will share his observations as a TV journalist who has covered politics, race and urban issues in Washington for nearly 40 years.