This Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, deepen your understanding of the history of civil rights in America by listening to the voices of people who live it. Below is a collection of StoryCorps conversations in memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and stories of those who carry the legacy of the civil rights movement with them.

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“I said, ‘Dr. King, I am John Robert Lewis.’”
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How Dr. King Inspired a Young John Lewis

Congressman John Lewis remembers how Dr. King’s words inspired him to join the Civil Rights Movement.

Originally aired January 17, 2020, on NPR’s Morning Edition. Read the full transcript here.

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"We walked every day from sunup to sunset."
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We Walked From Sunup to Sunset

Lawrence Cumberbatch tells his son Simeon about what it was like to be present on the podium behind Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. when he gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.

Originally aired August 23, 2013, on NPR’s Morning Edition. Read the full transcript here.

 

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"All of a sudden Dr. King drove down the street..."
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When Dr. King Drove Down the Street

Tom Houck shares memories of dropping out of high school in 1965 to fight for civil rights, and becoming Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s personal driver.

Originally aired January 15, 2016, on NPR’s Morning Edition. Read the full transcript here.

 

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"He really talked that night."
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After His Death, We Marched

Taylor Rogers and his wife Bessie were at the Mason Temple when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his famous “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech.

Originally aired January 13, 2006, on NPR’s Morning Edition. Read the full transcript here.

 

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“Being in a place like that, I didn’t feel like we was human.”
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The Leesburg Stockade Girls

In 1963, more than a dozen African American girls, including Carol Barner-Seay, Shirley Reese, Diane Bowens, and Verna Hollis, were arrested for protesting segregation in Americus, Georgia. At StoryCorps, they remember being held in a small makeshift jail for nearly two months.

Originally aired January 18, 2019, on NPR’s Morning Edition. Read the full transcript here.

 

A More Perfect Union

When Theresa Burroughs came of voting age, she was ready to cast her ballot — but she had a long fight ahead of her. During the Jim Crow era, the board of registrars at Alabama’s Hale County Courthouse prevented African American people from registering to vote. Undeterred, Theresa remembers venturing to the courthouse on the first and third Monday of each month, in pursuit of her right to vote.

 

Driven

Wendell Scott was the first African American person inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, he poured his heart, soul, and all of his earnings into maintaining his own race car. His son, Frank, remembers what it took for his father to cross the finish line at tracks throughout the South.

 

Eyes on the Stars

On January 28, 1986, NASA Challenger mission STS-51-L ended in tragedy when the shuttle exploded 73 seconds after takeoff. On board was physicist Ronald E. McNair, who was the second African American person to enter space. But first, he was a kid with big dreams in Lake City, South Carolina.

 

More Voices

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"I was not excited about being Officer Clemmons at all."
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Officer Clemmons

 

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"The next day, the police car pulled up and they said, 'We're taking y'all to jail.'"
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The Kissing Case

 

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"The last time I saw Denise was the night before the bombing."
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Remembering Denise McNair

 

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"What was the saddest moment of your life?"
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The Most Painful Recollection

 

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