Listen to a 1962 Speech by Martin Luther King, Jr.


The other day on Facebook , NPR shared a story it produced in 2014 about the then recently discovered recording of a speech by Martin Luther King, Jr. from 1962. The New York State Museum unearthed the audiotape, once lost to history, while digitizing its massive archive.

New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller asked King to address the New York Civil War Centennial Commission during a commemoration of the Emancipation Proclamation. The overall message of Dr. King’s speech was that the great promises set forth by the Emancipation Proclamation, and the Declaration of Independence, had fallen short. Dr. King believed that the best way to commemorate the Emancipation Proclamation was to “make its declaration of freedom real” by reaffirming America’s commitment to equality.

Even today, 54 years after Dr. King spoke, his words resonant.

Hear Dr. King’s Full Speech:

Read the original typewritten speech and learn more about the New York State Museum exhibit.


Photo Credit: Library of Congress

Shane JohnsonShane Johnson is a producer for WSKG’s History & Heritage team. Before arriving at WSKG, Shane earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Cinema and History, Master’s Degree in History, as well as his Master’s of Arts in Teaching in Social Studies Adolescence Education from Binghamton University. He has a personal interest in 19th Century American history, especially the Civil War, and as a young lad, he dreamed of becoming a railroad engineer.