CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The College of Charleston’s Avery Research Center received audio tapes from Martin Luther King Jr.’s visit to Charleston less than a year before he died.

The tapes are a part of the Eugene B. Sloan Civil Rights Collection that was held by Sloan’s immediate family for more than five decades.

Eugene B. Sloan was an award-winning South Carolina editor and journalist in the 1960s.

Lisa Berman donated the collection to the College of Charleston’s Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture.

The Avery Research Center is a museum affiliated with the College of Charleston’s Library system that works to preserve and collect African American history and culture in the Lowcountry.

“The Avery Research Center is a premier repository for Black history in the Lowcountry and having the 1967 recording of Martin Luther King Jr. in Charleston is an incredible addition to our world-class collections at the Avery Research Center,” CofC President Andrew T. Hsu said.

The collection includes three audio recordings from:

  • Martin Luther King Jr.’s address at County Hall in Charleston on July 30, 1967.
  • Eugene B. Sloan’s undercover tape recorder at a Ku Klux Klan meeting near Charleston on the evening before King’s address at County Hall.
  • Rev. Ralph David Abernathy’s speech amid the Hospital Workers’ Strike in Charleston on March 31, 1969.

“The artifacts from the Sloan collection also demonstrate how intricately connected the Charleston peninsula and the Sea Island communities (especially Johns and Wadmalaw islands) were to one another and to the ongoing work toward justice,” Tamara T. Butler, executive director of the Avery Research Center and associate dean of strategic planning and community engagement said.

“We are honored to be the stewards of this collection as it is an important thread of the civil rights tapestry that we weave together at the Avery Research Center.” 

The tapes will be available for listening at in the spring on 2023.