Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day!! Here’s a treat for you:
On February 26, 1965, Martin Luther King, Jr., was invited to give a sermon for Friday evening Shabbat services at Temple Israel of Hollywood. Unless you listened to this tape in the Temple’s archives, or were there that night, this speech hasn’t been heard since. Well now the Jewish Journal has uncovered this rare speech and made it available via its Web site (and below). Kevin Roderick of LAObserved adds some context (via an unnamed Proquest database)
King was 36 years old at the time. Selma was heating up that month, and Malcolm X had just been killed in New York, so King arrived in Los Angeles under heavy guard. It was his first trip west since winning the Nobel Peace Prize. King dined with prominent Westsiders at the Beverly Hills home of Dr. Irving Lichtenstein and attended a screening of “The Greatest Story Ever Told” at the Cinerama Dome (now the Arclight.) The theater crawled with police because of death threats and the seizure of stolen dynamite connected to a racist group. King also spoke at the World Affairs Council at the Hollywood Palladium. The Times reported that an “overflow crowd” of 1,500 at the temple gave King a warm welcome. That Sunday he returned to Selma.
And for an added bonus, here’s MLK’s “I have a dream” speech!
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