Public speech making has played a powerful role in the long struggle by African Americans for equal rights. This collection, for the ear and the eye, highlights speeches by an eclectic mix of black leaders. Their impassioned, eloquent words continue to affect the ideas of a nation and the direction of history.
Spanning the 20th century, this collection is a vivid account of how African Americans sounded the charge against racial injustice, exhorting the country to live up to its democratic principles.
Titled after the classic 1969 James Brown anthem, “Say it Loud, I'm Black and I'm Proud,” this anthology illuminates the ideas and debates pulsing through the black freedom struggle from the 1960s to the present. These arguments are suffused with basic questions about what it means to be black in America.
The transcripts were drawn from audio and video recordings. In some cases, we were able to start with existing transcripts in the public domain and check them against recordings. At other times, we produced the transcripts ourselves, with the help of dedicated colleagues. Each transcript here has been checked against the recordings by at least two sets of ears. Occasionally, words in some of the recordings are hard to hear. We've used our best judgment to make the most faithful transcripts we can.