Uncovered audio interview of Dr. King

Posted at 1:53 PM, Jan 20, 2014
and last updated 2014-01-20 13:55:21-05

(CNN)- On this day, dedicated to honoring his legacy, we're hearing long-lost audio from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He is heard discussing steps then-Senator John F. Kennedy took to influence King's release from a Georgia prison  King had been sentenced for four month of hard labor for a traffic violation.

Transcript of the interview:

Reporter:  We'd like to know that, during your recent encounter in Georgia -- this ticket situation -- did president-elect Kennedy have any influence or -- did he influence your release?  Or, just how did he fit into the picture?  Did he have any connection with your being released?

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.:  "Well, I would say first that many forces worked together to bring about my release.  I don't think that any one force brought it about, but you had a plurality of forces working together.  I'm sure that the interest of the public, in general, all of America, had something -- a great deal to do with it.  Now, it is true that Senator Kennedy did take a specific step.  He was in contact with officials in Georgia during my arrest and he called my wife -- made a personal call and expressed his concern and said to her that he was working and trying to do something to make my release possible.  His brother (Robert F. Kennedy), who at that time, was his campaign manager, also made contact with officials and even the judge in Georgia, so that the Kennedy family did have some part -- at least they expressed a concern and they did have some part in the release.  But, I must make it clear that many other forces worked to bring it about, also.

The sound is from a tape found in  a Tennessee attic a few years ago, but parts of it were held back until now. The recording is from an interview conducted on December 21, 1960 in Chattanooga, TN by a man who intended to write a book about the Civil Rights movement.

A wreath laying at the Martin Luther King, Jr. monument in Washington D.C. plus a list of locations closed due to the holiday.