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Economic and Social Bill of Rights

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The SCLC calls for an economic and social bill of rights to demand the inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for African Americans. It would include the right of every employable citizen to a decent job, the right of every citizen to a minimum income, the right to a decent house in a neighborhood of choice, the right to an adequate education, the right to health care, and the right to full participation in decision-making.

Tuesday, February 6, 1968

Draft of SCLC 1964 Annual Report

This is a draft of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference 1964 Annual Report. The document outlines developments that occurred in pursuits such as voter registration and Operation Breadbasket. The piece concludes with commentary on the future of the organization, specifically "deeper involvement in political action."

Morehouse College's Standing Among 192 Colleges

This document ranks Morehouse College against other colleges in a variety of areas, including endowment, number of Ph.D's on the faculty, and graduates with Ph.D's.

Draft of I Have a Dream

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This version of Dr. King's famous "I Have a Dream" speech reveals important changes to ideas and phrases that Dr. King chose either to alter or omit completely the day he addressed the throng gathered before the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. Dr. King's argument against the "normalcy" of bigotry remained a key message on the day he took the podium.

Wednesday, August 28, 1963

Program from Community Salute to MLK: Nobel Peace Prize Winner

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This program is from the Community Salute to Dr. King that occured in New York City following his being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Thursday, December 17, 1964

Civil Rights Act of 1957

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The Civil Rights Act was signed into law on September 9, 1957 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Commonly referred to as the Civil Rights Act of 1957, this was the first such federal law since Reconstruction. The law was aimed at ending voter discrimination tactics such as poll taxes and literacy tests, but it also created the Civil Rights Commission to ensure proper administration of the law.

Monday, September 9, 1957

The Other America

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Dr. King delivered this speech, "The Other America," for the Local 1199 Salute to Freedom program. The speech emphasized the need to address poverty, the Vietnam War, and race relations in America.

Sunday, March 10, 1968

Remarks by MLK in Acceptance of the Spingarn Medal

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In his acceptance speech for the Spingarn Medal, Dr. King remarks about the need for continuing the fight for social justice and equality around the world. He acknowledges the work of NAACP along with protesters as they continue to be on the frontline in addressing the nation's social ills.

Friday, June 28, 1957

Proposal for Preventing Denial of the Right to Vote

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William L. Higgs proposes that the Democratic Caucus in the US Senate adopt a resolution that no Democratic Senator shall become chairman of a Senate Standing Committee if his seat was won in an election where there was substantial denial of the right to vote based on race. In Mississippi only 6% of eligible Negroes are registered to vote, yet US Senator James Eastland chairs the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee that considers legislation regarding the right to vote and also the appointment of judges charged with enforcing those laws.

Thursday, October 29, 1964

Remarks by MLK at the Freedom House Annual Dinner

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Dr. King expresses his appreciation for being honored by Freedom House. He also pays tribute to the life and work of John F. Kennedy while encourging others to honor his memory through their dedication to civil rights.

Tuesday, November 26, 1963

Dr. King Leaves Montgomery for Atlanta

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This news release announces Dr. King's decision to resign as Pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama and move to Atlanta, Georgia. Relocating to Atlanta will enable Dr. King to Co-Pastor Ebenezer Baptist Church with his father, and will leave him in close proximity to the SCLC.

Tuesday, December 1, 1959

Invitation to President Kennedy's Inaugural Ball

This invitation was sent to Dr. and Mrs. King, inviting them to the Inaugural Ball following the inauguration of President-elect John F. Kennedy and Vice President-elect Lyndon B. Johnson.

Letter from Chauncey Eskridge to David Acton

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This letter from Chauncey Eskridge to David Acton request the Leeds & Northrup Foundation provide a grant to the Southern Christian Leadership Foundation. Chauncey Eskridge includes a tax exempt letter and a copy of the trust instrument outlining the creation of the Southern Christian Leadership Foundation. Both Dr. King and Mr. Bernard Jackson received a copy of this letter.

Tuesday, November 21, 1967

Telegram from MLK to President Johnson on Rhodesia

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Dr. King urges President Johnson to respond to the unilateral declaration of independence by Prime Minister Ian Smith of Rhodesia by withdrawing American officials, refusing diplomatic recognition and severing economic ties.

Thursday, November 11, 1965

I Have A Dream

In the most famous of his speeches, given from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial at the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, Dr. King drew on themes from previous sermons and speeches, including an address he called The American Dream. Citing Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation, the US Constitution, and the Declaration of Independence, King calls upon the nation to fulfill its promise of freedom and justice for all of its citizens. Although he began by reading from a manuscript, he later abandoned it and spoke directly to the crowd of more than 200,000.

Catholic Interracial Council Newsletter Honoring MLK

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This 1965 newsletter from the Catholic Interracial Council honors Dr. King with the Pacem in Terris Peace and Freedom Award.

Sunday, March 7, 1965

Telegram from Berry Gordy, Jr. to MLK

President of Motown Record Corporation, Berry Gordy, Jr., awaits Dr. King's decision on the album, "The Great March on Washington."

Our God is Able

This is a chapter draft of the sermon for Dr. King’s book Strength to Love. Using Jude 1:24 as his text, Dr. King expounds on his belief that there is a God of power that is able to sustain the universe, conquer the evils of history, and give us the interior resources to face the trials of life. He speaks of his own experience of turning to God when he was exhausted and overcome with fear after a telephone death threat. His inner peace restored, he was able calmly to accept the news three days later that his home had been bombed.

Nobel Lecture by MLK

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This is a copy of the Lecture given by Dr. King in Oslo, Norway upon his winning the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize. He thanks the Norwegian Parliament for honoring him with this award. He speaks of the evils of racially injustice and the belief that "oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever." He speaks of the need to peacefully come together in harmony as humanity because a peaceful world cannot be built based on a "negative path."

Friday, December 11, 1964

Ronnie Williams 23rd Anniversary

This flyer promotes the Ronnie Williams 23rd Anniversary concert at Symphony Hall in Newark. The featured performers include the 5 Blind Boys of Alabama, Shirley Caesar and the Reverend James Cleveland.

Epitaph for a First Lady: Eleanor Roosevelt

Upon the death of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, Dr. King wrote this epitaph, calling her "a symbol of world citizenship." In addition, Dr. King commends Mrs. Roosevelt for her commitment to humanity.

Handwritten Thank You Letter From MLK

Dr. King expresses his gratitude for contributions made to the SCLC, and informs the reader of the results of recent studies regarding illegitimate birth rates among negroes as opposed to whites.

MLK Memorandum on SCLC Direct Action Plans

In this confidential memorandum, Dr. King outlines SCLC’s direct action program for Birmingham, Alabama and Danville, Virginia. For each community, he states the challenges, defines goals, and then provides detailed steps to be taken and also staff assignments. He promises to outline his plan for Montgomery, Alabama in a few days.

Letter from Andrew Heiskell to MLK

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Mr. Heiskell extends an invitation for Dr. King to join Mayors of major cities and other national leaders in forming a coalition to address urban problems.

Tuesday, July 25, 1967

Letter from Benjamin Mays to MLK

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Dr. Benjamin E. Mays writes to Dr. King shortly after President Kennedy's assassination to urge him to take precautions.

Friday, November 29, 1963

Letter from Dora McDonald to Bill Daniels

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Dora McDonald writes Bill Daniels, of WSB-TV, expressing outrage over a cartoon depicting overt racism in a court of law.

Friday, September 29, 1967

Letter to Dorothy Height from Dora McDonald

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Dora McDonald apologizes to Dorothy Height, President of the National Council of Negro Women, for not responding sooner to let her know that Dr. and Mrs. King would be unable to attend the Premier Life Membership Dinner. The invitation to the dinner came during Dr. King's sabbatical to write a new book.

Thursday, January 5, 1967

Current Magazine

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This Current Magazine issue on racism in the U.S. features an article "Is Direct Action Necessary" by Dr. King, as well as pieces by James Meredith, James Reston, and others.

Thursday, August 1, 1963

Letter from Lyndon B. Johnson to MLK

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President Lyndon B. Johnson writes Dr. King, thanking him for sending him an advance copy of "Why We Can't Wait."

Monday, May 18, 1964

Letter from Benjamin E. Mays to MLK

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Morehouse College President Benjamin E. Mays writes Dr. King to ask him to consider donating his papers to the Atlanta University Center Library as an alternative to Boston University.

Thursday, May 7, 1964

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