Woman Who Attended MLK's Tulsa Speech Says It Impacted Her To This Day

Monday, January 20th 2020, 10:11 pm
By: Justin Shrair

Nearly 60 years after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his only speech in Tulsa, a woman who was there said it still resonates with her.

Princetta Newman still holds a signed letter from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. close to her heart.

"My dad had written him a letter asking him to come for the Colored Voters of America to speak in Tulsa,” said Newman. “Dr. King wrote a response to the letter.”

At the time King had written he was unable to come, but that he would like to meet Newman's father John A. Cloman. Just a few months later, King would make his first and only visit to speak in Tulsa inside this church. The date was July 28, 1960.

"It was packed. You couldn't get anywhere. We had special seating and I was anxious to hear him," said Newman.

Princetta Newman, who was just 16, said the night before she and her father even got to meet King.

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"He says well I am glad to meet you and he stuck his hand out," Newman said.

Newman said meeting him in person was amazing but hearing him speak was like nothing she could've imagined.

"He presented and you were like oh okay he talked in a boom," said Newman.

Newman said King spoke about taking on the issues of equality head on and not backing down.

"The point I got of the whole speech was that no matter what happens you have to speak up. it’s time to speak up and come forward and it’s time to do it in a peaceful manner," said Newman.

Newman said although inspirational and moving, nearly 60 years after his speech, more still needs to be done.

“The joke among my people is that they took off the caps dunce caps and white coats and put on suits and so it's a more suave and gentile approach in the forefront but it’s basically the same," said Newman.

She has a message for young people to work hard and keep moving forward.

"Work for what you want. Know that you earn what you get, qualify and prepare yourself. Do your job no matter what the venue is," said Newman.

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