Since Aug. 28, 1963, we’ve known that one of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous speeches was first heard at the Lincoln Monument, where he delivered the piece in front of thousands of Civil Rights Movement supporters.
Now, some five decades later, it’s been discovered that “I Have A Dream” actually debuted on November 17, 1962 in a segregated high school gym in Rocky Mount, North Carolina.
A man by the name of Herbert Tillman was present the day King came to Booker T. Washington High School. He told CNN:
“All of a sudden, Martin Luther King comes on stage. And when he comes on stage, everybody, and I mean everybody, got to their feet and got to hollering and jubilation with excitement,” he said.
In the original speech, which was 55 minutes longer than the one in Washington D.C., King proclaimed one of the most memorable lines: “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty I’m free at last!” moving the audience of 1,800 people to applaud and rejoice together.
When King finished, the recording was stored and tucked away until someone found it and gave it to Jason Miller, a researcher of King’s speeches at North Carolina State University.
“The first time he ever used the phrase ‘I have a dream’ was right here in North Carolina,” Miller told CNN.
After confirming its authenticity, Miller sent the speech to Philadelphia to be restored and digitized by audio master and author George Blood. There are a few differences in the 1962 speech in comparison to the most famous one at the nation’s Capitol. King used references to the city of Rocky Mount and the order of his words was moved around.
However, otherwise, according to North Carolina State University:
“Absolutely no overdubs, edits, or changes have been made to this recording in any way,” … “Now for the first time, this historic speech can be heard.”
Check out more over at CNN.
SOURCES: CNN | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty | VIDEO CREDIT: NDN