Series 11
Martin Luther King Speaks records, 1957-2000
Boxes 593 - 613

SCLC began broadcasting Martin Luther King Speaks, a weekly thirty minute radio program, in early 1967, with staff members producing and distributing the programs out of SCLC's New York office. Martin Luther King Speaks moved to the Atlanta office in 1972. After 1973, SCLC continued to produce programs but distribution was handled by radio networks. The radio program was broadcast, with interruptions in service, at least through 1979. Martin Luther King Speaks regularly aired the speeches and sermons of Martin Luther King, Jr. The leadership of SCLC also used it to publicize campaigns and direct action efforts, with Ralph David Abernathy and other staff members frequently appearing on the air.

During the late 1960s and early 1970s, Martin Luther King Speaks collected and catalogued audio tapes of King and other movement leaders, many of which they aired on the radio program. These programs demonstrate SCLC's engagement with various social movements in the late 1960s and 1970s, including the student movement, anti-war protests and the Black Power movement. The show featured interviews, often conducted by staff members, with such prominent figures as Allen Ginsberg, Dick Gregory, and Harry Belafonte. It also aired several programs featuring activists in the women's movement; for instance, in 1971, an interview with Florynce Kennedy and Diane Schulder about their controversial book, Abortion Rap. Angela Davis appeared on several programs, and speeches by Eleanor Holmes Norton and Dorothy Height were also aired. In addition, the radio show produced its first record for individual distribution in 1969 and began selling recordings of King and of other programs on a larger scale in 1971. Martin Luther King Speaks continued to sell tapes of King's speeches and sermons until at least 2000.

Scope and Content Note

The series consists of the administrative files, program files, and source material of the Martin Luther King Speaks radio program from 1957-2000. The administrative records document the production and distribution of the program, including records relating to radio stations that broadcast the program. Program files include the announcer copy sheet; the timing sheet; excerpts of recorded texts by Martin Luther King, Jr. used as opening and closing segments on many programs; and the program transcript. Finally, source material includes transcripts of interviews, speeches, sermons, and other writings that the department collected as source material for programs. See Subseries 19.1 for recordings of Martin Luther King Speaks programs.

Arrangement Note

Organized into three subseries: (11.1) Martin Luther King Speaks administrative records, (11.2) Martin Luther King Speaks program files, and (11.3) Martin Luther King Speaks source material files.

Description of Subseries