Maurice Wallace, "King's Vibrato: Speech, Power, and the Sounds of Blackness"

Event Date: 
Tuesday, January 17, 2017 - 6:30pm

Maurice Wallace headshot

Maurice Wallace, Professor, English Department and Associate Director, African-American & African Studies, Carter G. Woodson Institute, University of Virginia will explore the sonic force and densities of Martin Luther King, Jr’s speech-making. He will discuss that the power of amplified speech and ambient sound in the making of King’s memory.  In a sense, this talk is part of a historical recovery project aimed at resituating King’s voice (as distinct from his words) in time and space.  Knowing the rhetorical content of King’s speeches is not at all the same as knowing a great deal about King’s unique sound or the dynamics of technology and state terror inspiring it.

For while sound amplification technology may have augmented the tonality in King’s voice as he spoke in Washington and preached in Memphis, for example, it is also certain that this same technology helped mute the state threat to King and his auditors, fearfully heard in the constant clicking of cameras, recorders, timers, and triggers.

A reception will be held from 6:00-6:30pm. Program begins at 6:30pm.

Register for this free event here.

Presented by Lifetime Learning in the UVA Office of Engagement