A rhetorical digital humanities project of the "Fill Up the Jails" public speech

Phase 2 – Immersive Audio Experience

Re-creating the speech both before a live audience and in a recording studio provided the building blocks for the project website.

Phase 1 → Phase 2 → Phase 3

Our original plan called for a Martin Luther King, Jr. voice actor to perform the speech in a Raleigh studio so that we could have dry mixes to manipulate. Our goal was a recreation of the space’s acoustics: this meant we needed sound without much extra surroundings. Once we secured a speaker, and began consulting with a local audio expert, we saw an opportunity: we could have Mr. Marvin Blanks perform the speech at the new location of the congregation which original hosted Dr. King. We reached out to White Rock Baptist, and we found enthusiastic support for the idea. On June 8, 2014, Mr. Blanks performed the speech in White Rock Baptist Church sanctuary, with an audio professional recording the entire event. The audience was encouraged to actively listen and participate, which resulted in a rich and diverse audio experience different than what we had originally planned but more conducive to building a truly immersive experience of public address. Mr. Blanks performed the speech in the studio as well, giving us both dry recordings and recordings with audience feedback. These recordings became the audio building blocks for the immersive model going forward.

In addition, the media and public responses to the re-creation were so strongly positive, we wanted to make the different audio recordings available to North Carolina and national public, so we built a website to host the recordings. This allowed us to deliver the first artifacts and disperse information about the project. This measure also allowed the project to show the first steps while developing the next stage of the project: a visual model of the historic White Rock Baptist Church that incorporated the audio we had captured.