A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from October 03, 2011
People’s Microphone or People’s Mic/Mike (using voices for amplified sound)

The September 2011 “Occupy Wall Street” protests didn’t have a permit to have amplified sound (such as a bullhorn). Instead, a speaker would speak a few words and the crowd would act as a “microphone” by repeating them.

The name “people’s microphone” (or “people’s mic/mike")—also called the “human microphone”—has been cited in print since at least September 21, 2011.

ABC News
Protesters Vow to Camp Near Wall St. Indefinitely
By MEGHAN BARR Associated Press
NEW YORK September 21, 2011 (AP)
In a small granite plaza a block from the New York Stock Exchange, a group of 20-somethings in flannel pajama pants and tie-dyed T-shirts are plotting the demise of Wall Street as we know it.
Forbidden from using a microphone — they don’t have the proper permits — the group got creative.

“What we do is a people’s microphone,” Reed said. “So the person who’s speaking says a couple of words and then the whole crowd repeats it so everyone can hear. It’s actually beautiful.”

FireDogLake—The Dissenter
Live Blog of #OccupyWallStreet: One Week Later & Growing Stronger by the Day
By Kevin Gosztola Saturday September 24, 2011 10:08 am
September 24th, 2011 at 10:35 am
The People’s Mike just called for somebody to call Sam, the legal rep.

Report: The People’s Microphone in Zuccotti Park
Mon, 09/26/2011 - 11:14am — MsExPat
The evening meeting of yesterday’s General Assembly in Zuccotti Park opened with a vocabulary lesson--a demonstration of the latest hand and arm signals that the group is developing to use at these meetings. Since the cops shut down the possibility of amplification at the march, the protesters came up with a novel way to get around the ban: the “People’s Microphone.”

The first part of this technique is well known by now--the main speaker (or speakers, for in these militantly non-hierarchical groups, people often speak in pairs) says something, and then the people up front with the loudest voices repeat it as a chant. One or two of the loudest even stand up on the shiny, pink granite park benches and shout the words out to the back rows of the people gathered in circles.

The People’s Microphone might have been forged by necessity, but it’s turned into a brilliant tool, something truly innovative in the political/organizing arena.

The revolution will be tweeted
By Velcrow Ripper | September 26, 2011
On the ninth night of the encampment, it was moving to receive a message from Noam Chomsky, read out to the general assembly via the “people’s mic”—a technique in which the whole group repeats the words of a speaker, enabling everyone to hear.

Thursday, September 29, 2011
The Revolution Will Be Translated
You will be astonished by the effectiveness of the “people’s mike” (human voices substituting for electrically amplified sound, which would require a police permit) and by the seriousness of the occupation’s goals and participants.

ROAR Relections on a Revolution
Occupy Boston officially launched last night
by Jérôme E. Roos on October 2, 2011
By 7:00, the crowd easily topped 1,000 attendees and the “people’s mike” starts up. The people’s mike started in New York when protesters were prohibited from using electronic amplification. The speaker breaks his or her words up into small chunks of sentences, and pauses while each chunk is repeated by the whole group.

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New York CityGovernment/Law/Military/Religion /Health • (2) Comments • Monday, October 03, 2011 • Permalink