I wish I had discovered this tape in time to post it last week, but I only listened to it for the first time within the past three or four days. I know nothing about it, except that it is from a reel to reel tape which I bought at least a year ago (it can take me awhile to get through things....), and that all of the tapes from this purchase that I've listened to so far - maybe 12 or 14 of them - have some connection to the University of Notre Dame in the 1960's. Most were recorded there, or at events clearly sponsored by the University.
There have been lectures to seminary students about various subjects, in-service type lectures and question and answer sessions for newly married couples and new parents, even a couple of tapes featuring a symposium on Vatican II. Each tape was marked fairly accurately, often in some detail. I was looking forward to tape featuring a lecture on the teaching of sex education, given by someone named Susan Dick, but that one turned out to be so poorly recorded as to be unlistenable.
The tape featured today was actually mislabeled. The box reads "Father Putz: Laity Comes of Age". I was not particularly looking forward to Father Putz' lecture, and I'm glad to say that's not what was on the tape.
Instead of that lecture, what this tape held was quite a bit more interesting, and to me at least, quite stunning. Here we have a priest discussing his experiences on the day of, and days after, the death of The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., experiences which quickly led him to the decision to go to the funeral, an event which he also discusses. I can't quite put a handle on this man's accent (sometimes he sounds Swedish to me, at other times German), and I have no idea what his name might be, but I found this recording remarkable and completely irresistable.
In particular, I'm taken with the speaker's recall of the reaction in middle America - or at least some of those who he came in contact with - within a day of Dr. King's death, which included everything from absolute lack of interest to what sounds like almost a feeling of "good riddance", but mostly a profound lack of understanding of what had just happened, on the part of the white people (including some clergy) whom he came in contact with, and the speaker's inability to and frustration with finding a way to point out the problems in their attitudes.
But rather than bring up more of the things that make this so special to me, I'll just provide the link and let you find your own meaning in it. I have provided the speaker's introduction as a short file (five minutes), in which he makes mention of some of the other events going on that day (including a lecture by Mayor Lindsey of New York). This track really doesn't add much to the story, but it might be interesting for some of you. The main track is the second one, and it runs about thirty minutes. There was a discussion on the tape, after this speech, but I found it to be not nearly as interesting as the story itself.
Please enjoy this, offered as my tribute to Dr. King, one week late: