January Featured Resource: MLK at ASU

Image of Martin Luther King, Jr and other dignitaries on stage at the 1964 speech given at Arizona State university.To celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, ASU Libraries is featuring the MLK @ ASU digital collection, which includes a recording of Dr. King's speech "Religious Witness for Human Dignity," given at ASU on June 3, 1964, less than one month before the landmark Civil Rights Act.  

No one knew the speech was recorded until Phoenix resident Mary Scanlon found a box of aged reel-to-reel recordings Goodwill store donated by deceased Phoenix businessman and civil rights leader Lincoln Ragsdale, Sr. 

What is it?  Dr King speaking for nearly an hour to an audience at Arizona State University. You will hear talk about his travels, civil rights and how technology was bringing people together spatially and symbolically. You hear words that are both familiar and unique to this recording including his famous ending refrain, “Free at last, free at last-thank God Almighty, we’re free at last.” As Mary Scanlon notes, the recordings will transport you “to another time and another reality at once familiar and foreign.”

The recording and related items are available in the Martin Luther King Jr. at Arizona State University collection in the ASU Digital Repository. You can jump to the recording at - (click the maroon “Play” button)

Who is it for?  Everyone! This unique, historic event is important to the history of Arizona and the Civil Rights movement and demonstrates ASU’s long commitment to diversity and equality.

What will I find there?  An audio recording of Dr King, speech transcript, a correspondence with President Durham and the Arizona Board of regents about the visit, and photos from the event. The recording features an Introduction by Durham, Dr. King’s speech and is followed by his remarks to NAACP supporters at the Tanner AME Church in Phoenix earlier in the same day.

Need more information?  Contact Archives & Special Collections or your subject librarian – we’re always ready to help you with your research.