Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Episode 124: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Ladies and gentlemen...this episode may very well be the crown jewel in my speech collection. Indeed, if I had to choose one episode that best describes what I had hoped that the Black Media Archive could be an avenue for, it would be so that words like these could be heard and shared with a modern-day audience. This episode is another speech by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that was delivered on March 16, 1968, brought to us in the city of Los Angeles at a benefit held by the Men and Women in the Arts Concerned with Vietnam....less than a month before his assassination. If you want to hear an example of the kind of rhetoric that led up to Dr. King being targeted...then you need to hear this speech. We have all heard how we are given a sterilized, non-confrontational portrayal of Dr. King in the years since his passing. Well, this speech is a beautiful example of his ideas, beliefs, and criticisms of this country in his own voice. Please listen to this episode, and I encourage you to share it with someone...anyone who you think would be open to hearing an important message. As with many other speeches that have been broadcast through this podcast, it seems to have special relevance today...although it is forty years later. I particularly enjoy the part in which Dr. King describes the conversation that he had with the white gentleman on the plane. I've never heard another speech replayed in which Dr. King says quite the same things, and I'm sure that that is not by mistake. So I am excited to offer this episode as a continuation of the BMA speech series. I think I'll conclude the series by putting out one more after this. But this one is one of my absolute favorites, and I hope you find it meaningful as well. Peace.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Episode 123: Malcolm X & James Baldwin

Although I have been podcasting a series of speeches lately (in response to the results of my audience poll), this episode is not a speech. It's even better than a speech...it's a debate! And it is my pleasure to make this episode available as this debate is between Malcolm X and James Baldwin. On April 25, 1961 these two debated on the issue of American racism, the methods of the civil rights movement, and what it meant to be a Negro in those times. It is fascinating to me to listen to the ideologies and beliefs of these two men as they respond to each other in this debate. It is not often that you get to hear two historic black men such as these engage each other in debate, as we are usually given one-sided views of individuals through speeches or lectures. Just as an aside...when was the last time you heard a thoughtful debate on the airwaves? Nowadays, even in the midst of a political election, you don't really hear a lot of substantial debate being broadcast...especially not between African-Americans, and definitely not on hot-button issues such as American racism anymore. Or maybe I just don't listen to the radio enough to catch them, but if I am missing something...someone please let me know. But back to this episode, it is a respectful exchange of ideas that absolutely deserves re-evaluation. So I urge all of my audience to listen and spread the word about the speech series that the BMA is currently podcasting. I have a few more that I feel compelled to share in the next couple of episodes, so thanks for listening and I hope that y'all are enjoying them. Hey...you asked for it! Peace.

P.S. I couldn't find a photo of these two men together, instead I decided to post this photo of James Baldwin. I just like it.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Episode 122: Shirley Chisholm

As we proceed to give you what you need...and what you asked for (according to the poll), we continue on with a few episodes of selected speeches. This episode's keynote speaker is Shirley Chisholm. In this speech, Mrs. Chisholm describes the future that she sees for the American family, and proves to be somewhat predictive, (is that a word?) as she delivered this speech in 1977, and seems to vividly describe the condition of the American family today. The speech is a cry out for parental and social responsibility. It may sound a little old school to today's audience, or perhaps a little preachy...but it is a heart-felt speech, about an increasingly important issue as you can hear the sincere concern in Mrs. Chisholm's voice. Her concern is for the future of America's children, about their education and well-being, and these words deserve to be replayed and heard by today's generation. Listen and enjoy. Peace.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Episode 121: Reverend Ralph Abernathy

Now here's a little something that needs to be heard...continuing on with more audience appreciation episodes (it seems my audience really appreciates hearing a good speech), here's another good speech (recommended by yours truly) this time delivered by Reverend Ralph Abernathy. Rev. Abernathy gave this speech on June 19, 1968, only a few short months after the assassination of his friend and associate Dr. King. The speech is given at the Poor People's Campaign which took place at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. as a fulfillment of the prior commitment of Rev. Abernathy, Dr. King, and the SCLC. From what I've read about the Poor People's Campaign, it didn't quite go over the way that the organizers had planned. Perhaps attitudes and the social atmosphere was a little too charged at the time for such a unifying passive protest rally. But what I do know is that Rev. Abernathy delivered a heck of a speech. I had been looking for a while for some sample of Rev. Abernathy's speeches or sermons, you don't hear his words replayed much even though he played such a large role in the Civil Rights Movement...so I am very fortunate to have found, and to be able to share this one. He delivers this speech as both a political activist and fiery pastor, and calls to account the nations' moral priorities on a number of issues. And as with several of the episodes, especially speeches, that have been distributed through this podcast...the speech seems amazingly poignant today...even though it was delivered 40 years ago. So this episode I pay homage to Reverend Ralph Abernathy...this one is kinda long, so sit back, listen, and enjoy. Peace.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Episode 120: H. Rap Brown & Stokeley Carmichael

Since speeches are still the most enjoyed content according to the poll...I gotta give the people what they want. So the next few episodes, I'm going to share a couple of my favorite speeches that I've collected with y'all. This episode is a recording of some good ones, and by good I mean thought-provoking and controversial. Some stuff that you probably won't hear anywhere else. Back on episode 40, you could see included shortened video clips of these two speeches. Well this episode are the speeches of H. Rap Brown and Stokeley Carmichael, leaders of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in their entirety. These speeches were delivered 40 years ago at the Free Huey P. Newton rally held in the Oakland Auditorium on February 17, 1968. I'm not even sure what to say about these words...I mean all you can really do is listen. Listen and think. And whether you agree or disagree with them, these two men had some guts to speak the way they did. I say that because I can't help but think that they had to know that they would face some kind of consequences and repercussions for speaking out like that. But they did it anyways. And they spoke up unapologetically. Does that take courage? Is it arrogant stupidity? Do you hear any young black men or women speaking out like that today? Do you ever wonder why not? Do you know what happened to these two? If not...you need to look it up. Peace.

P.S. Thank you LasPecas for your comment on iTunes. That brings my total back up to 10 (I seem to have lost one somewhere along the line). But I appreciate the supportive words, and I'll have to put out some more jazzy video content for you and the other old school jazz lovers out there in the near future.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Episode 119: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

This episode provides an eloquent answer to the question, how do we tell and teach the children about this ugly thing called racism in America? As black people, we are unable to try to ignore or avoid the subject. Eventually it needs to be addressed, and addressed in a responsible manner. This snippet of Dr. King's speech on the subject delivered in 1964 provides a good example. Peace.