A politically-charged spoken word track by the late singer on America's diversity is uncovered

By David Caplan
Updated September 25, 2008 05:30 PM
Credit: AP

A previously unheard recitation by the late Johnny Cash called “I Am The Nation” will be released Oct. 28 on Legacy Recordings’ DVD/CD package Johnny Cash’s America, but PEOPLE exclusively has the track now.

In the spoken word track – which was found in the iconic singer’s personal belongings after his death in 2003 at the age of 71 – Cash speaks poetically about America’s diversity and the fundamentals of freedom.

The poignant words were originally a public relations advertisement written in 1955 for the Norfolk and Western Railway by Otto Whittaker.

“May I possess always the integrity, the courage and the strength to keep myself unshackled, to remain a citadel of freedom and a beacon of hope to the entire world,” Cash says on the track.

A rep for the DVD/CD package, said “Johnny’s oration of “I Am The Nation” from the film’s soundtrack reminds us what our country stands for at a time when Americans seem more divided than ever.”

Listen to the track here: