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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. interview recording, previously unheard, found in Tenn. attic

August 22, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
A Tennessee man discovered a piece of American history in his attic: an unpublished recording of an interview with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Stephon Tull was sifting through dusty old boxes in his father's Chattanooga attic a few months ago when he stumbled onto an audio reel labeled, "Dr. King interview, Dec. 21, 1960."

Tull's father interviewed king in 1960. His father, an insurance salesman, had planned to write a book about life under segregation laws. He said his dad interviewed King when he visited the city, but never completed the book and just stored the recording with some other interviews he had done. Tull's father is now in his early 80s and under hospice care.

The interview was made four years before the Civil Rights Act became law, three years before King's famous "I Have a Dream" speech, and eight years before his assassination. At one point in the interview, King predicts the impact of the civil rights movement.

"I am convinced that when the history books are written in future years, historians will have to record this movement as one of the most greatest epics of our heritage. I think the movement represents struggle on the highest level of dignity and discipline," King says in the recording.

King also said the civil rights movement was so important because it wasn't just a philosophical undertaking; it was a campaign creating concrete change.

Tull plans to offer the recording at a private sale arranged by a New York broker and collector later this month.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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