Restored recording of MLK's speech in Rocky Mount unveiled
The fully restored recording of Martin Luther King Jr.'s historic speech in Rocky Mount was played for the first time Wednesday.Posted — Updated
It’s a historical marker that states Martin Luther King Jr. first delivered a version of his "I have a Dream" speech a school gym down the street in 1962, nine months before he spoke those words on the mall in Washington, D.C.
“These wonderful residents of Rocky Mount and the City of Rocky Mount have known about this, but there is no substitute for hearing the Dr. King at the height of his oratorical prowess,” said Jason Miller, an English professor at North Carolina State University.
Herbert Tillman came to the news conference to hear the recording, but that was not his the first time hearing the speech. He was in the gym when King uttered those iconic words.
“It just stirred up all kinds of emotions in my heart,” Tillman said. “At the time, I didn’t realize the in-depth significance of it.”
For Tillman, King’s words represented hope.
“We had the same ‘colored’ and ‘white’ water fountains, just like they did in Alabama,” he said. “So, anybody who cared anything about equal rights and justice – yes, they followed Martin Luther King. And I definitely did.”
Copyright 2023 by Capitol Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.