Thursday, February 9, 2017

King, Hamer, Ginsburg, Obama: Speech collections & a memoir

Women speakers often are left out of collections of "major speeches." But of the four recent finds I've made in speech collection and a memoir, three are by important women speakers. I'll be adding these to The Eloquent Woman Booklist, my collection of useful books about speeches and speaking as featured on this blog. Add these to your speaking shelf:
  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg: My Own Words, by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, collects her speeches and writings; if you buy the audiobook, you can hear recordings of her delivery of many of the speeches. Ginsburg's humor and thoughtfulness are on display here in a way the court bench does not always permit. This is the first volume of Ginsburg's autobiography, and I'm so delighted she began by releasing her influential speeches.
  • Fannie Lou Hamer: The Speeches of Fannie Lou Hamer: To Tell It Like It Is, edited by Maegan Parker Brooks and Davis W. Houck, is the first collection of speeches by the noted civil rights activist, including transcriptions of her extemporaneous remarks. While often called illiterate as a means of dismissing her, she was, in fact, able to read and write. And she was one of the most formidable and persuasive speakers of the America civil rights movement. This collection shows why.
  • Barack Obama: We Are the Change We Seek: The Speeches of Barack Obama, by E.J. Dionne, Jr. and Joy Redi, collects key speeches of the most recent former U.S. president, with 26 major speeches. Sam Leith's review notes patterns in the written speeches, adding that Obama's delivery made them unique and persuasive. 
  • Coretta Scott King: My Life, My Love, My Legacy, just out this month, collects the memoir of King, who shared her thoughts before her death in 2006 with Dr. Barbara Reynolds. She recalls numerous important speeches, including her 10 Commandments on Vietnam, which we've covered here on the blog. In some cases, the text is shared as well as her recollections of the events of the day, although this is not a collection of speeches. Still a great read.
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