• Say It Plain

  • A Century of Great African-American Speeches
  • By: American RadioWorks
  • Narrated by: Michele Norris
  • Length: 51 mins
  • Audiobook
  • Release date: 02-03-05
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: American Public Media
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars 4.5 (106 ratings)

Regular price: $2.95

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Editorial Reviews

This documentary by American Radioworks puts you in the front row of history, listening to famous speeches by African-Americans. In addition to Martin Luther King's famous "I Have a Dream" speech, we hear Booker T. Washington skillfully addressing tense economic issues in the deep south. Comedian Dick Gregory describes his visit and the food in Alabama jails. Voting activist Fannie Lou Hammer reveals the beatings she took for registering black voters in Mississippi. Early feminist Shirley Chisholm courageously addresses the issue of abuse within the black community, while Barbara Jordan and Stokely Carmichael vent their frustration over the fight for their constitutional rights.

American Radioworks insightfully introduces each speech with enlightening context, detailing the different circumstances, challenges, and death threats these speakers were working under. Listening to these stirring voices and imagining the speakers before you is absolutely the next best thing to being there in person. Expect goosebumps and tears.
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Publisher's Summary

The visceral impact of history's great speechmakers is at the heart of Say It Plain. This new American RadioWorks documentary highlights a selection of landmark sermons, speeches, and broadcasts by remarkable African-American speakers. Say It Plain delves into a vibrant tradition of African-American oratory that connects figures as different in style and ideology as Booker T. Washington and Marcus Garvey, Shirley Chisholm and Julian Bond. It's a vivid portrait of black Americans exhorting the nation to make good on its democratic promises. Producers: Stephen Smith and Kate Ellis
Editor: Catherine Winter
Host: Michele Norris
Coordinating Producer: Sasha Aslanian
Project Manager: Misha Quill
Assistant Producer: Ellen Guettler
Production Assistance: Nathan Hall, Zachary Johnson, Melody Ng, Neil Tassoni, Carey Biron, Bente Birkeland, and Samantha Kennedy.
Web Producer: Ochen Kaylan
Executive Producer: Bill Buzenberg
Click here to listen to more great radio documentaries from American RadioWorks.
©2005 American Public Media
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By greengrassoverthemoon on 02-10-15

A wonderful synapses of the best of Black leaders.

Heard before and revealed are brave African Americans who dared to speak against America's brutal racial oppression. Voices range from common to the most eloquent. Profound is the variation of how these women and men viewed the destiny of freedom and what would be the most effective strategy to reach this goal. Activists include Martin Luther King Jr., Stokely Carmichael, Fannie Lou Hamer, Shirley Chisholm, Marcus Garvey and others. A compilation of riveting voices of "the struggle." After 150 years of the emancipation, sobering is that "the Negro is still not free."

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By David on 02-21-14

Really moving

A lovely collection of speeches. I can't listen to Martin Luther King Jr's last speech without weeping. Knowing what's next is so sad after hearing what he has done, and knowing what he wanted to accomplish. I was a child when Barbara Jordan spoke at the House Watergate Hearings and it was something that struck me even as a child and I've treasured her words ever since. Listen to this one. It's well worth it.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
2 out of 5 stars
By jonathan jordan-july on 01-13-09

It's 51 minutes long!

I was appalled by the brevity of this audio book.

The subject is vast and has the potential to be riveting so I was heartbroken by the hop, skip and jump approach they've taken to it. There are so many important speeches by so many important people in the civil rights struggle that I cannot communicate my disappointment at their omission and editing.

In terms of included content there are some true jewels here with true life snippets of important speeches going back nearly 100 years (why couldn?t we have them in total without interruption?) and harrowing accounts of brutality which are told in some cases with feeling by people unused to public speaking. I love in particular; Martin Luther King's last recorded speech in which he almost apologises to his audience for being murdered before the struggle is over. It's almost as if he KNEW what would happen the very next day. I'm honoured to have heard that speech and urge publishers to give us a longer more detailed audio book researching and presenting the subject properly. At ?13 this is horrendously priced for 51 minutes.

Having said that I?d happily pay ?50 for a decently presented offering that does the subject some justice.

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