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What A Find: Man Discovers Unreleased Martin Luther King Jr. Interview In Attic
August 22, 2012
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You never know what you'll find in the attic. Stephon Tull says he was going through the attic at his father's house in Tennessee when he came across a dusty box with a pristine reel-to-reel recording inside marked "Dr King interview, Dec 21, 1960". It turns out Stephen's father had interviewed Martin Luther King Jr. as part of his plan for a never-written memoir.

The recording, which was never released to the public, features King discussing his time in Africa, as well as the civil rights movement in America and its impact. Mr. Tull's father was an insurance salesman who planned to write a personal memoir about the racism he faced growing up. He never finished the book (he's now in his early 80s and under hospice care).

The interview took place four years before the Civil Rights Act became law and three years before Dr. King's famous "I Have a Dream" speech. Check out an excerpt from the recording below:

According to Raymond Winbush, director of the Institute for Urban Research at Maryland's Morgan State University, the interview is significant because there aren't many recordings of King talking about what he did in Africa. "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."

Back in 1967, Dr. King delivered a Massey Lecture organized by the CBC called 'Conscience for Change'. Here's an excerpt from that lecture:

"Canada is not merely a neighbor to Negroes. Deep in our history of struggle for freedom Canada was the north star. The Negro slave, denied education, de-humanized, imprisoned on cruel plantations, knew that far to the north a land existed where a fugitive slave if he survived the horrors of the journey could find freedom. The legendary underground railroad started in the south and ended in Canada. The freedom road links us together. Our spirituals, now so widely admired around the world, were often codes. We sang of "heaven" that awaited us and the slave masters listened in innocence, not realizing that we were not speaking of the hereafter. Heaven was the word for Canada and the Negro sang of the hope that his escape on the underground railroad would carry him there. One of our spirituals, Follow the Drinking Gourd, in its disguised lyrics contained directions for escape. The gourd was the big dipper, and the north star to which its handle pointed gave the celestial map that directed the flight to the Canadian border. So standing today in Canada I am linked with the history of my people and its unity with your past."

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