In the fall of 1964, Amherst College students could have tuned in to WAMF, the college's student run radio station (now WAMH), and heard the above lecture by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on “The Summer of Our Discontent.” This was a rebroadcast of the first in a series of 15 lectures on race in the United States given at The New School for Social Research in the spring of 1964, as the American Race Crisis Lecture Series. King's speech, given on February 6 to a full hall, addressed the history and underlying causes of the ongoing civil rights struggles, particularly the eventful summer of 1963, and emphasized the value of nonviolent tactics.
The speech was rebroadcast on WAMF’s Lecture Hall program on December 8th, 1964. The Lecture Hall was a weekly program of pre-recorded lectures, some given at Amherst College and some obtained through arrangements with other institutions. This recording is one of 46 open reel audio tapes transferred to Archives and Special Collection by WAMH in 1989. The tapes contain a wide variety of material that was recorded for broadcast between the 1950s and 1970s. In the course of reprocessing the WAMH/WAMF Records in the fall of 2015, we realized that this recording was previously unknown and likely unique. Our colleagues at The New School Archives found a recording of the question and answer session from this lecture a few years ago, but they do not appear to have a recording of the speech itself.
We are pleased to share this recording here in the spirit of advancing scholarship on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the history of the civil rights movement.
For additional information on the American Race Crisis Lectures Series, The New School’s recording of King’s Question and Answer session, and WAMH see:
For a more complete history of the Amherst College recording, see our blog, The Consecrated Eminence.