A man in Tennessee has discovered a never-before-heard audio tape featuring an interview with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. from December 1960.
The Associated Press reports that the unheard audio tape was discovered by Stephon Tull as he was rummaging through dusty boxes in his father’s attic. The reel-to-reel recording is marked “Dr. King interview, Dec. 21, 1960.” Tull says that his father interviewed King for a memoir that was never written.
Tull said: “No words can describe. I couldn’t believe it … I found … a lost part of history.”
The new audio features King talking about the civil rights movement and how a trip to Africa influenced his political beliefs. It’s the trip to Africa that really has historians excited.
According to the AP, there are several recordings of King talking about the civil rights, but there’s little audio available about his trips to Africa.
King says in the newly discovered tape:
“I had the opportunity to talk with most of the major leaders of the new independent countries of Africa, and also leaders in countries that are moving toward independence… And I think all of them agree that in the United States we must solve this problem of racial injustice if we expect to maintain our leadership in the world.”
Raymond Winbush, director of the Institute for Urban Research at Maryland’s Morgan State University, said that the tape paints a clearer picture of how Martin Luther King Jr. viewed the world. According to Winbrush, the tape makes it clear that King believed that the civil rights movement was a global movement.
“It’s clear that in this tape when he’s talking … about Africa, he saw this as a global human rights movement that would inspire other organizations, other nations, other groups around the world… That to me is what’s remarkable about the tape.”
The audio tape has been authenticated by New York collector Keya Morgan. A private sale will be arranged later this month.