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.

SCLC Seventh Annual Convention

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This pamphlet advertises the 1963 Southern Christian Leadership Conference Annual Convention. It contains detailed information about the event, including members of the planning committee and scheduled presenters.

Tuesday, September 24, 1963

Letter from Bishop P. Randolph Shy to MLK

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Presiding Bishop of The Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, P. Randolph Shy, declines Dr. King's invitation to attend an upcoming convention. Bishop Shy mentions that he will make a contribution "through our churches to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference."

Friday, August 11, 1967

Statement from the Eisenhower Administration to the NAACP

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In an address to the NAACP, Vice President Richard Nixon discusses the reasons that progress has been made in the Eisenhower Administration and the goals that the organization needs to continue working toward.

Sunday, June 26, 1955

Letter from Randall Elias to MLK

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Randall Elias offers the support of himself and the North Shore Chapter of Americans for Democratic Action for the civil rights march from Chicago to Springfield.

Thursday, May 27, 1965

Letter from Beresford Hayward to MLK

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Beresford Hayward, Planning Consultant of the Department of Education in Puerto Rico, writes Dr. King to inform him of the racial climate in Puerto Rico and its issue of Cuban immigration. Mr. Hayward also presents a comparison between the race issues inflicting Puerto Rico and the United States of America.

Wednesday, February 7, 1962

"Dr. King Denounces Write-In Plot"

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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.

Monday, November 2, 1964

Letter from James Bevel on the Spring Mobilization Committee

James Bevel, national director of the Spring Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam, offers insight into the purpose of the committee. The committee focuses on launching two mass demonstrations to stop the war, with the goal of "seeking to stimulate increased activity everywhere."

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.

Program from The Poor People's Campaign Committee for Nassau County

Dr. King delivers an address for the Poor People's Campaign Committee of Nassau County.

Letter from Randolph T. Blackwell to MLK Requesting a Leave of Absence from the S.C.L.C.

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Randolph T. Blackwell requests a one-year leave of absence from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to work with Citizens Crusade Against Poverty. Blackwell will assist the S.C.L.C. sister organization with its emerging Southern Rural Development Project.

Monday, June 13, 1966

Agenda for the SCLC State and Local Leaders

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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.

Friday, February 2, 1962

Revolution in the Delta: Farm Hands Go on Strike

David R. Underhill discusses the strike of farm laborers in various Mississippi Delta cities. Underhill highlights strike procedures, methods, and locations.

Letter from Sarvajanik Kalyan Samiti to MLK

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The Indian organization, Sarvajanik Kalyan Samiti, expresses admiration of Dr. King's heroic struggle for civil rights in the US, along with his application of Mahatma Gandhi's methods. A bronze bust of Gandhi is offered as a gift of appreciation and a request made for placement of the statue in a children's park.

Friday, June 25, 1965

Letter from Mark Raphael to MLK

Mark Raphael, the President of the All-Square Student Congress Speaker's Bureau at New York University, invites Dr. King to talk about his priorities in America and plans for Washington.

Letter from MLK to Adolph Held

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Dr. King writes Adolph Held, President of the Jewish Labor Committee, in response to his inquiry regarding SCLC's position on anti-semitism. Dr. King clarifies a number of distortions produced by the media, and presents the facts of the Chicago Conference of New Politics event throughout the letter.

Friday, September 29, 1967

Speech to the Synagogue Council of America

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Dr. King receives the Judaism and World Peace Award from the Synagogue Council of America and uses the occasion to speak about the Civil Rights Movement and international peace. He laments the vehement criticism of dissent and discussion of the Vietnam War and enumerates reasons why the Hebrew prophets are so needed today.

Sunday, December 5, 1965

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.

Rio Grande Farm Workers Bulletin

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This bulletin describes the difficulty that migrant farm laborers have encountered forming organizations to improve economic conditions.

Wednesday, February 1, 1967

Urban League Feeling a Financial Squeeze

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This article focuses on the Chicago Urban League's struggle to gain financial support from contributors. According to the organization's director Edwin C. Berry, former contributors failed to accept the fact that the goals and scope of the league would preclude the organization from becoming a "protest group."

Wednesday, September 15, 1965

CIC Press Release: Hilliard to Head Catholic Testimonial for MLK

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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.

Wednesday, September 23, 1964

Telegram from Jeffrey Archer to MLK

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Jeffery Archer of Brasenose College requests a signed copy of one of Dr. King's books for the Oxfam Campaign.

Wednesday, December 2, 1964

Recent Court Guidelines Concerning Demonstrations

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This memorandum outlines recent legislation that permits "street demonstrations as an exercise of freedom of speech and of assembly." Specific court cases in the state of Alabama are also mentioned throughout the text.

Tuesday, April 5, 1966

Transcript: Press Conference USA

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Robert Lodge questions Dr. King about the future and past of the Civil Rights Movement during a Press Conference USA recording.

Friday, July 5, 1963

Dr. Abernathy Says Full Steam Ahead in '67

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

Friday, January 6, 1967

The Kinship Between the Labor Unions and Negroes

Dr. King presents a speech at the United Auto Workers Convention in May 1961, which acknowledges the new challenges faced by factory workers because of technological advances that threaten to leave them jobless. He draws a parallel between the plight of auto workers and the Negro experiences of disenfranchisement in the US to highlight the potential for alliance between the two groups.

SCLC Report: Operation Breadbasket

Rev. Fred C. Bennette, Jr. writes a report on Operation Breadbasket. Rev. Bennette "hopes to increase its activity in alleviating the economic plight of the Negro in America." At the culmination of the report, he lists the main cities where the project will be implemented.

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.

Letter from Curtis Harris to MLK

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Curtis W. Harris, of the Virginia State Unit of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, wrote to Dr. King to alert him that the Smithfield Packing Company has a labor situation very similar to that of Scripto in Atlanta. Harris explains that none of the senior Negro employees are in the appropriate income bracket and could use Dr. King's assistance.

Monday, February 1, 1965

Letter from Matthew T. Doherty to MLK

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Matthew Doherty responds to an "eloquent and moving" appeal from Dr. King in the July 26th issue of The New York Times. Doherty discusses the recent surge in "black power" and its role in the ongoing struggle for equal rights. The writer also mentions his "small" contribution to aid Dr. King's efforts to "make this a better world for all of us."

Tuesday, July 26, 1966

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