ROCKY MOUNT, N.C., Aug. 12 (UPI) -- A recording of an early version of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech surfaced Tuesday at North Carolina State University.
Prior to delivering his landmark speech before thousands of supporters in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 28, 1963, King delivered his speech to a smaller audience at a high school gymnasium in Rocky Mount, N.C. on Nov. 27, 1962.
Even though reporters covered his 55-minute speech, no recording has surfaced until now. English professor Jason Miller found a reel-to-reel tape in a local library which he first played in public on Tuesday at North Carolina State University.
Miller studies King's speeches and said that the first time he ever used his iconic "I Have a Dream" phrase was in North Carolina. Nearly 1,800 attended his Rocky Mount presentation and the recording has now been restored and digitized.
Miller ran into the tape while conducting research for the book "Origins of the Dream: Hughes' Poetry and King's Rhetoric" and an accompanying documentary in which he explains an intellectual relationship between King and poet Langston Hughes. Miller said the tape was found in a nondescript box, describing it as a 1.5mm acetate tape that no one knew the contents of.