(316 words)

Josephine Baker was a showgirl in 1920s and '30s Paris who retired her skimpy costumes to serve in the French Resistance before becoming an international superstar. She was the only woman to speak at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s “March on Washington” in 1963. The 57-year-old Baker flew in from France for the event. Having left school in sixth grade, she was not entirely comfortable speaking publicly. Her speech relied on simple language and natural charisma.

The Speech (excerpted)

And when I got to New York way back then, I had other blows—when they would not let me check into the good hotels because I was colored, or eat in certain restaurants. And then I went to Atlanta, and it was a horror to me. And I said to myself, My God, I am Josephine, and if they do this to me, what do they do to the other people in America?
You know, friends, that I do not lie to you when I tell you I have walked into the palaces of kings and queens and into the houses of presidents—and much more. But I could not walk into a hotel in America and get a cup of coffee, and that made me mad. And when I get mad, you know that I open my big mouth. And then look out, 'cause when Josephine opens her mouth, they hear it all over the world.
So I did open my mouth, and you know I did scream, and when I demanded what I was supposed to have and what I was entitled to, they still would not give it to me.
So then they thought they could smear me, and the best way to do that was to call me a communist. And you know, too, what that meant. Those were dreaded words in those days, and I want to tell you also that I was hounded by the government agencies in America, and there was never one ounce of proof that I was a communist. But they were mad. They were mad because I told the truth. And the truth was that all I wanted was a cup of coffee. But I wanted that cup of coffee where I wanted to drink it, and I had the money to pay for it, so why shouldn't I have it where I wanted it?

http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/A_F04F9F2C56AE49738BFA0DA1089A09C5 (search for “Baker” and then play the .)