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The power of Booker T. Washington's voice

Voices of Black America
A review of Voices of Black America: Historical Recordings of Speeches, Poetry, Humor & Drama by Naxos Audiobooks

This audiobook provides a treasured portal to the past. It features original recordings from 1908-1946 of speeches by Booker T. Washington, the poems of Langston Hughes and Paul Laurence Dunbar recited by the poets, comedy routines, and more. All told, there's approximately 1 hour and 47 minutes of content.

To hear these famous voices is very special. The sound quality is on par with other historical recordings I've heard. That takes a moment to get used to, but feels intimate, like you've gone back in time and are witnessing the moment. 

The collection includes a recording of Booker T. Washington's "Atlanta Exposition Address," Charley Case's "How Mother Made the Soup" vaudeville routine, James Weldon Johnson reading "God's Trombone" and a spectacular performance of a scene from Shakespeare's Othello.  

I recognize Langston Hughes' voice and I've studied the poetry of Paul Laurence Dunbar, but there were many speeches and poems that I had not read or heard before. I checked out the MP3 audiobook from Wisconsin's Digital Library and there are no liner notes. I found myself doing some quick research trying to piece together who was speaking from time to time. That was part of the process for me, soaking up the sounds and words of these famous black voices.  

Feb 22, 2021