Themes

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Intersecting Movements

Martin Luther King Jr. was not only a leader in the campaign to end segregation, but also a brilliant coordinator, working with national leaders from a variety of movements who were in solidarity with that struggle. The African-American community itself was complex and dynamic; within it there were leaders who represented a variety of perspectives and efforts directed towards justice, fairness and equality in the United States and around the world. This theme is intended to provide a selection of the documents that represent Dr. King’s engagement of intersecting social movements. It includes correspondence related to organized labor, black nationalism, pan-Africanism and peace organizations.

"Dr. King Denounces Write-In Plot"

Contrary to what radio announcements and newspapers advertise, Dr. King urges Negro voters to vote for a presidential candidate that is already on the ballot. He expresses that he is not a candidate and does not want voters to write his name on the ballot.

"Meaning of Georgia Elections"

Dr. King speaks about the Southern Christian Leadership Conference's Summer Community Organization and Political Education Project (SCOPE). He also talks about the political advancements that were made in the south.

"Outrage in Alabama"

The Southern Christian Leadership Conference reprinted the article, "Outrage in Alabama," which was originally printed in The New York Times. The article describes violent acts against civil rights demonstrators discussing the flaws within the legal system.

A Knock At Midnight

In a tape-recorded address to the Riverside Church in New York City, Dr. King compares the civil rights struggle to a parable from St. Luke. His sermon specifically tackles contemporary social issues such as segregation, discrimination, and the philosophy of nonviolence. In addition, Dr. King explores the role of the church in dealing with such problems.

A New South A-Coming

This pamphlet discusses the courageous stand of African American high school students against racial discrimination in the South. The efforts demonstrated by these young people to bring about change of many undemocratic practices were significantly noted in Negro history.

A Statement to the South and the Nation

The Southern Leaders Conference on Transportation and Non-Violent Integration issued this statement to the nation regarding the unresolved problems of civil rights. The leaders asked for all Negroes, particularly those in the South, to assert their human dignity and to seek justice by rejecting all injustices.

Address by MLK to American Jewish Committee

In this speech, Dr. King addresses the Civil Rights Movement and the use of nonviolent demonstration tactics. He distinguishes between civil disobedience, which involves breaking laws that one does not agree with, and nonviolent demonstration, which involves using one's right to protest. He states that nonviolent protest is inherently American, citing examples from the Civil War, the Suffragettes, and the American Jewish Committee's own lobbying from the early 20th Century.

Address to AFL-CIO New York City District 65

Dr. King speaks to the District 65 AFL-CIO to address the importance of job opportunities in the northern and southern regions of the United States. He explains that the labor movement must stay active in order to gain civil rights and equal pay for African American workers.

Affidavit of Theo R. Wright

In an attempt to redirect the focus of Negro students in Birmingham, Superintendent Theo R. Wright presents a sworn affidavit detailing his responsibilities and plans to revitalize the educational direction of Birmingham Public Schools.

Agenda for the Leadership Conference Executive Committee Meeting

Arnold Aronson sends the agenda for an upcoming meeting for the Executive Committee of the Leadership Conference. Important topics of discussion include the Civil Rights Act of 1967 and the Freedom Budget.

Agenda for the SCLC State and Local Leaders

This agenda outlines several topics discussed for the Southwide Meeting of State and Local Leaders. Dr. King, the President of the SCLC, spoke on SCLC's 'People to People' Program.

An Appeal by Puerto Ricans for Fair Treatment

This document reviews the economic, political, and cultural disparity of Puerto Ricans. The authors explain the history of American imperialism in Puerto Rico and how Puerto Ricans have been mistreated in the United States, particularly in New York. Criticizing the Vietnam War, the authors suggest focusing the funding used abroad on community building.

Anonymous Letter to Charles C. Diggs Jr.

This anonymous letter to Congressman Charles Diggs, Jr. of Michigan details the grievances suffered by Negro and Caucasian females in the U.S. Army. The authors assert that they routinely are subjected to segregation in public accommodations and are denied equal opportunity for promotion and reenlistment.

Anonymous Letter to MLK

The author suggests that Dr. King focus on six specific things to accomplish in 1968.

Black Power - Dr. Vincent Harding

Dr. Harding gives a full detailed presentation on Black Power before the Southeastern Regional Advisory Board of the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith.

Black Power: The Politics of Liberation in America

Stokely Carmichael and Dr. Charles Hamilton are in partnership with SNCC to promote the Black Power Movement. SNCC creates "freedom gifts" to provide the community with the expression of the "humanistic spirit" and goal of the movement. These freedom gifts range from posters, poetry, calendars, and more.

Blue Spiral Notebook

Contained in this notebook is a draft of Dr. King's statement to Judge James E. Webb following his arrest during the Rich's Magnolia Tea Room Sit-In. There is also an outline of a letter to female students who were arrested during the sit-in. On other pages a child practices handwriting.

Campaign for a World Constitution Leaflet

This pamphlet announces a World Constitutional Convention to be held in Switzerland. Dr. King, who was among the signers of a "Call for a Constitutional Convention," is quoted in the leaflet stating that a world government would lessen tensions.

Chicago Daily News: Operation Breadbasket

The Chicago Daily News posts an article highlighting Operation Breadbaskets success in opening up two hundred and twenty four jobs in Chicago's dairy industry for Negroes.

Chicago Freedom Fund Festival

The Chicago Freedom Fund Festival, organized by Mahalia Jackson, served as a benefit for the SCLC.

CIC Press Release: Hilliard to Head Catholic Testimonial for MLK

The Catholic Interracial Council releases a statement announcing Raymond M. Hilliard as the Chairman of the 1964 John F. Kennedy Award Dinner. During the event, Dr. King will be honored for his leadership and dedication to the civil rights struggle. Hilliard, whom President Johnson named to the National Citizens Committee for Community Relations to advise on the implementation of civil rights legislation, called Dr. King's work "inspired and truly Christian" and said that the CIC was honored to celebrate him.

Co-Op Movements for Black Economic Development

This memorandum sent to Dr. King by Professor St. Clair Drake, is a full proposal for the development/revival of the co-operative movements among negroes in large urban centers.

Conference on Strengthening the New Politics

Paul Albert forwards this letter to all individuals invited to and interested in the Shoreham Conference, in which Liberals address the shortcomings of American politics.

Dr. Abernathy Says Full Steam Ahead in '67

Dr. Abernathy recaps accomplishments of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference for 1966. He states several objectives for the organization's efforts for 1967.

Draft of Statement by MLK on his Involvement With the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers

Dr. King wishes to clarify his endorsement of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers. He states that he did not mean to imply that there was a civil rights issue in the "collective bargaining election," but rather that he admires the accomplishments of the labor movement.

Essay - MLK Entitled "The Bravest Man I Ever Met"

Dr. King's essay, entitled "The Bravest Man I Ever Met," profiles Norman Thomas, a prominent Socialist.

Face the Nation Interview

This is a transcript of an August 1965 interview of Dr. King on the CBS television news program Face the Nation. King is asked to comment on numerous issues facing American society including the conflict in Vietnam, civil rights, housing and birth control.

Injunction from the City of Birmingham

Several members of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, including Dr. King, receive a temporary injunction from the City of Birmingham.

Invitation to Harry Belafonte Concert

Dr. King invites friends to a Harry Belafonte concert, which is a benefit performance for the SCLC.

It is Not Enough to Condemn Black Power...

Dr. King addresses the "Black Power" movement in this two-page document. He also explains his thoughts and experiences relating to the tactics and goals of the Civil Rights Movement.

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