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Bevel, James L. (James Luther)

b. 1936 - d. 2008

Along with his former wife Diane Nash, James Luther Bevel was a student organizer in the Nashville Student Movement when Dr. King hired him as Director of Direct Action and Director of Nonviolent Education of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). Rev. Bevel developed and initiated several important campaigns, including the 1965 Selma voting rights effort. He also helped organize the 1963 March on Washington and the 1965 Selma to Montgomery March. Bevel later organized against the Vietnam War and was associated with 1995 Million Man March. His legacy was subsequently marred by an arrest and conviction for child molestation in Virginia in 2008.

Associated Archive Content : 42 results

An Appreciation Dinner

This dinner salutes the outstanding service of the SCLC staff. It includes menu items for the gathering as well as a schedule of guest speakers and attendees.

Annual Report Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Operation Breadbasket, unemployment, poverty, nonviolence, Negro voter registration, and a financial report are just several of the topics covered in this informational pamphlet detailing the ways in which monies were divided amongst the many functions of the SCLC.

Background of the Speakers

This document lists speakers for rallies in New York and San Francisco and gives a short biography of each person. The speakers include people such as Dr. Benjamin Spock, Dr. King, Rev. James Bevel, Floyd McKissick, Julian Bond and others. The document also lists folk singers for each rally location, a list that includes Pete Seeger.

Bill of Complaint: City Board of Education of Birmingham, Alabama

The City Board of Education of Birmingham, Alabama accuses several civil rights leaders and organizations of discouraging Negro students from attending public schools.

Biographical Sketch of James Bevel

This one page biography summarizes the achievements of James Bevel, one of the founding members of SNCC. The biography highlights Bevel's involvement with civil rights drives in Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi, including the Freedom Rides and numerous SCLC action programs.

Black Americans Take the Lead in War Protest

In this press release, the Spring Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam has mustered a significant following of supporters who are in staunch opposition to United States involvement in Vietnam. Black community leaders such as Stokley Carmichael, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Rev. James Bevel reflect the growing discontent of blacks who "view this war as a war against a colored people" merely serving the economic interests of America.

Chicago Defender: My Dream

Dr. King writes this article for the Chicago Defender describing the social and economic climate of Chicago's ghettos. He explains that Ghettos are the site of economic exploitation and where no exchange of culture and resources are allowed to exist. SCLC staff and Reverend James Bevel "have come to see this as a system of internal colonialism." It is understood that slum culture is designed to perpetuate the inferior educational, health, housing, and employment states of the Negro.

Chicago Nonviolent Action Proposal

SCLC's proposal for a nonviolent action campaign in Chicago identifies the city as the prototype for the northern urban race problem. The proposal includes a snapshot of the situation in Chicago, past approaches, SCLC?s philosophy of social change, a description of twelve different aspects of the problem of economic exploitation, and a plan and timetable for mobilizing forces. Objectives are stated for the federal, state, and local levels. SCLC proposes to work in collaboration with the Coordinating Council of Community Organizations.

Confidential Memorandum

This handwritten document outlines plans for the SCLC's Direct Action program. The program will target Birmingham, Alabama, Montgomery, Alabama and Danville, Virginia.

Event Program for Chester Robinson Tribute

Speaking invitation to Dr. King for a tribute to Chester Robinson and the West Side Organization at the First Congregational Church in Chicago.

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.

Final Plans for the Washington Poor People's Campaign

This document outlines the dates, times, places and events that will take place in preparation for the Washington Poor People's Campaign.

Letter from Andrew Young to James Bevel and Dave Delliger

Andrew Young writes Revered James Bevel and Mr. Dave Dellinger confirming Dr. King's acceptance to speak at a rally in New York, New York on April 15th. Young further addresses logistical issues that may arise in the execution of the event, as well as how to best increase participation.

Letter from Irene M. Koch to MLK

Irene M. Koch uses a Native American legend of a man walking in the moccasins of his enemy to gain understanding of his enemy. She relates this legend to the current civil rights movement and specifically the civil rights movement in Chicago, Illinois.

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."

Letter from James H. Bowman to Rev. Andrew J. Young

James H. Bowman writes to Rev. Young requesting for Mr. Ralph Henry to be stationed by SCLC on the near west side of Chicago.

Letter from John Lazenby to MLK

John Lazenby, Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, encloses a donation to Dr. King. He further stresses that nonviolence is the prime method to solve problems around the world. Lazenby requests copies of Dr. King's anti-war speech delivered at New York's Riverside Church on April 4, 1967 to distribute to his friends.

Letter from Juan Mari Bras to MLK

Juan Mari Bras, Secretary-General of the Movement for Puerto Rican Independence, writes Dr. King about Puerto Rican opposition to the Vietnam War. Bras informs Dr. King that his group will be at the April 15th Mobilization Committee Against the War in Vietnam rally outside of the United Nations. Bras hopes to communicate with Dr. King face to face and exchange ideas.

Letter from Peggy Duff to MLK

Peggy Duff writes Dr. King inviting him to join the World Conference on Vietnam in Stockholm. The conference will include delegates from multiple peace organizations around the world to help protest the war in Vietnam.

Letter from Richard Tucker and Stanford Ovshinsky to Lyndon Johnson

The Oakland County (Michigan) Peace Committee, believing U.S. involvement in Vietnam is a mistake, asks President Johnson and government representatives to stop bombing North Vietnam, promote a bilateral ceasefire, and enter multilateral negotiations.

Letter from Robert S. Swann to MLK

This letter to Dr. King accompanies the enclosure of a proposal regarding the Southwest Alabama Farmers Co-operative Association. Robert Swann hopes that this proposal can be discussed at the upcoming SCLC meeting in Washington, D.C.

Letter from SNCC Executive Committee to MLK

John Lewis and Silas Norman of SNCC write Dr. King to address their organization's grievances with the SCLC, specifically the SCLC's lack of cooperation in the Selma Voting Rights campaign. Members of SNCC state their disagreement with the march planned for March 7, 1965 because "the objectives of the march do not justify the danger and the resources involved." Lewis and Norman request a meeting with Dr. King to discuss reconciliation between SNCC and the SCLC.

Letter from Willis C. Tabor to MLK

In this letter from Willis C. Tabor to Dr. King Mr. Tabor requests an application for employment with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference after his dismissal as pastor of West Side Christian Parish.

Memo from the East Garfield Park Organizing Staff to James Bevel, Bill Briggs, Bernard LaFayette, and Jim Poling

In this memorandum, the organizing staff of East Garfield Park outlines their plans of action to end slums. Their agenda is designed to operate the organization effectively.

Memorandum to the SCLC Staff

In a memorandum sent to the SCLC staff, just days before Dr. King's assassination, Tom Offenburger informs members of a meeting Dr. King had with his advisers. The main focus of the meeting was the march in Memphis which turned violent, as well as the future of the Poor People's Campaign. In spite of the violence, there remains plans to go to Washington and correct the economic racism the US faces.

Mobilizer: February 1967

This February 1967 issue of the "Mobilizer: To End Mass Murder in Vietnam" focuses on James Bevel's direct action anti-war demonstrations. As National Director of the Spring Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam, Bevel outlines his strategy to launch a national movement involving community churches, students, labor groups, and others. The initiative is designed around a march to be held on April 15, 1967 in San Francisco and New York.

Press Release: MLK Joins Sponsors of April 15 Marches on San Francisco and New York City

In this press release, Dr. King announces his support of a massive mobilization against the Vietnam War. Sponsored by the Spring Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam, major peace marches are being held in New York City and San Francisco. Mrs. King is also listed as a leader who endorsed the demonstrations.

S.C.L.C's Rev. Bevel Charges U.S. Gov't With Genocide

This article, details the work and beliefs of Reverend James L. Bevel, a Baptist minister and field representative of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Bevel claims that the United States Government is committing genocide against Negro people.

SCLC Annual Board Meeting Agenda

This 1965 SCLC annual board meeting agenda lists several key figures who are intended to discuss their respective projects and strategies during this two-day session.

SCLC Newsletter: April 1962

The Southern Christian Leadership Conference announces five new members will join the staff. The five men are: John H. Calhoun, Herbert V. Coulton, James L. Bevel, Fred C. Bennette, and Bernard S. Lee. These men derive from different locations across America and add different levels of education and commitment to the Civil Rights Movement.

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