On this day when the eyes and ears of the nation are focused on the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. for the 50th anniversary of Doctor Martin Luther King Jr.’s iconic “I have a dream speech,” comes word that an address the civil rights leader made in Philadelphia in 1967 has been discovered.
Tom Lingenfelter, America’s so-called History Detective from Doylestown, Pennsylvania, has disclosed the finding of an audiotape featuring Dr. King’s speech to some 3500 alumni in the field house of then St. Joseph’s College, now university on City Avenue in Philadelphia.
According to Lingenfelter, a magnetic, quarter-inch audio tape along with unpublished photographs from the event on October 26th, 1967 were found in the forgotten collection of a photo-journalist who covered the event. The audio tape and photos reportedly are in good condition and represent the only known documentation of King’s speech to the group.
While not disclosing the exact location of the tape and pictures, Lingenfelter said the items are preserved in a secure facility while plans are being considered for its presentation to the public. According to Lingenfelter the hour-long speech features King’s logic, activism and passion for a fully integrated society based on real freedoms.
This is not Lingenfelter’s first brush with history. As a former Counter-Intelligence Special Agent and President of the Heritage Collectors’ Society, the Doylestown resident is a collector of rare historical documents and artifacts. More than 25-years ago, he stumbled upon an item that resembled the Declaration of Independence at a flea market. Not certain if it was a souvenir copy of the historic document or a direct copy he purchased the item for $100 and stored it for 15 years. Lingenfelter says the words “Anastatic Fac-simile” printed on his flea market treasure eventually linked it to a process that was used to make direct copies of the historic document.
While he has not revealed how and where he made his latest discovery, Lingenfelter is hoping to make it available soon for the public to hear King’s words and to see the snapshots in time from 46-years ago.