Inauguration Day in the “Lariat” 1900-2017

As Baylor’s chronicler of news both local and national since 1900, the Baylor Lariat has seen 35 transfers of power in the Executive Branch (including today‘s swearing in of Donald J. Trump as the 45th President). While not all of those events warranted large write-ups, we thought it would be timely to point out some of the highlights from the collection and see how Baylor students of years past viewed one of the most remarkable occurrences in world history: the peaceful abdication from executive authority in favor of a democratically elected successor.


First Presidential Change Covered in the Lariat: The Death of William McKinley, September 21, 1901 issue

While technically focused on in memoriam coverage of McKinley’s assassination in Buffalo, NY, it also marked the first time the Lariat printed coverage of a major national political event, coming less than a year after the newspaper’s first issue.

 


First Appearance of Inauguration Activities as Lead Headline: Inauguration of Calvin Coolidge, March 4, 1925 issue


First Article on Inauguration Activities to Feature a Photo of the New President: Inauguration of Herbert Hoover, March 5, 1929 issue


First Reference to Baylor Faculty Member Present at an Inauguration: First Inaugural of Franklin D. Roosevelt, March 7, 1933 issue


Student Reaction, Memorial on Death of President Roosevelt: April 17, 1945 issue


Open Letter to President Dwight D. “Ike” Eisenhower by “Jay Torto,” January 21, 1953 issue


First Above-the-fold Coverage of Inauguration by AP Report: Jimmy Carter, January 20, 1977 issue


First Editorial Content, Inauguration Day: President Reagan’s First Inaugural, January 26, 1981 issue


First Coverage of Inauguration with Local Area Connection: George W. Bush and Crawford “Western White House,” January 19, 2001 issue


First On-Scene Reporting of an Inauguration: First Inauguration of President Barack Obama, January 21, 2009 issue


The Inauguration of Donald J. Trump: January 20, 2017 issue

“Dreaming” In Stereo: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the Black Gospel Music Restoration Project

Photo of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at a press conference courtesy the Library of Congress

For many of our readers, the Black Gospel Music Restoration Project’s name likely conjures up images of Mahalia Jackson, Sister Rosetta Tharpe or the Mighty Wonders of Aquasco, Maryland. But on this MLK Day 2017, we wanted to draw your attention to a few items from the collection with direct ties to Dr. King, especially his “I Have a Dream” speech, delivered in Washington, D.C. on August 28, 1963.

Dr. King’s speech that day has rightfully become one of the best-known speeches in American history, its words inspiring the lives of activists, preachers, scholars and the general public for the better part of six decades. For black gospel artists recording in the years after 1963, Dr. King’s speech was fertile ground for creative expression, and they responded by creating songs that sampled portions of the speech’s recorded audio, drew inspiration from its words, or otherwise supported the Civil Rights Movement in the wake of is delivery.


I Have A Dream, recorded audio of Dr. King’s speech, 1963 on Gordy Records 45 RPM disc (Click player below for audio)

 

This disc embodies two of the ways black gospel artists responded to Dr. King’s message. The B-Side recording contains just under 4 minutes’ worth of Dr. King’s speech and ends with raucous applause after his immortal lines, “Free at last, free at last; thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

 


Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King by Rev. Franklin Fondel, ca. 1969 on Cross & Crown Records 45 RPM disc (Click player below for audio)

 

The Rev. Franklin Fondel recorded these tracks with his Fondel Gospel Singers in the aftermath of Dr. King’s assassination on April 4, 1968. Plaintively spoken over an accompanying organ track, Rev. Fondel spells out in rhyme both Dr. King’s life achievements and his impact on the work of the Civil Rights Movement, noting that King’s love “was the key that opened freedom’s door; no other man could have done more.”

 


I Believe Martin Luther King Made It Home by The All-Star Gospel Singers, ca. 1969 on EM-Jay Records 45 RPM disc (Click player below for audio)

 

This bluesy tribute to Dr. King features layered vocals, upright bass and electric guitar and a simple vocal refrain: “I believe Martin Luther King made it home, yes I do.”

 


In Memory of Dr. Martin Luther King by Claude Jeter, 1968 on HOB Records 45 RPM disc (Click player below for audio)

 

Recorded in the immediate aftermath of Dr. King’s death, Jeter’s spoken-word tribute to King’s life and work is set over accompaniment by electric bass, piano and organ.

 


As we reflect on Dr. King’s life and legacy on this January Monday, those of us at the Black Gospel Music Restoration Project hope these songs – and the thousands of others in the project – will help bring a new perspective to his message of love, equality and freedom for all.