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Connor, Eugene

b. 1897 - d. 1973

An ardent segregationist, Eugene “Bull” Connor served as Commissioner of Public Safety for the City of Birmingham, Alabama for over twenty years (1937-52 and 1957-63). He became an international symbol of bigotry through his use of fire hoses and police attack dogs to suppress demonstrations during the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s 1963 Birmingham Campaign. Broadcast on national television, video footage of these gruesome scenes reached the national public. These shocking pieces of media, along with subsequent images of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing, provided impetus for passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Associated Archive Content : 13 results

A Journey of Conscience

In this draft of his 1967 speech, "A Journey of Conscience," Dr. King provides the many reasons he so strongly opposes the war in Vietnam. He writes of how he first felt it was important to remain silent, but gradually felt compelled to speak out, as the US made no initiatives toward peace. He points at that the war abroad takes away our focus on our problems at home, and we must "combine the fervor of the civil rights movement with the peace movement."

Civil Rights Photographic Series

These fifteen photographs chronicle several historical moments in the Civil Rights Movement.

Letter from Thomas G. Carson to MLK

Thomas G. Carson writes Dr. King as a white supporter of civil rights legislation, but fed-up with what he feels are the changing views of Dr. King and the riots "committed by Negroes in the name of civil rights."

Letter from William W. Boyer to MLK

This Letter from William W. Boyer, Chairman of the Convocations Committee, to Dr. King informs Dr. King the transcription of his "Future of Integration" speech to the Kansas State University academic community has arrived. A copy of the transcription will be published in Issues 1968.
This enclosed transcription of his speech addresses many varied issues affecting American society.

MLK Press Conference Birmingham, Alabama

This document contains dialogue during a press conference in Birmingham, Alabama. The reporters asks Dr. King questions regarding plans for the Soviet Union, Washington D.C., and the Civil Rights Movement.

MLK Responds to Questions Pertaining to the Civil Rights Movement

Dr. King responds to a series of questions concerning such topics as his opposition to the Vietnam War, the direction of the Civil Rights Movement, urban riots in Detroit and Newark, and SCLC initiatives catered to the ghettos of the American South.

MLK Speech at SCLC Staff Retreat

Dr. King addresses the staff of the SCLC at a retreat in Frogmore, South Carolina. He divides his speech into three parts: "whence we have come, where we have come, and where do we go from here." Dr. King thoroughly discusses his thoughts on Communism, the practice of nonviolence, the belief that racism is an "ontological affirmation,"and the weaknesses of Black Power.

People In Action: Birmingham, U.S.A.

In this first of a two-part article for the New York Amsterdam News, Dr. King writes about the circumstances surrounding SCLC’s decision to develop Project C, a campaign confronting racial injustice in Birmingham. Three factors led to the decision. First, the city was the home of the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights, SCLC’s strongest affiliate. Second, Birmingham represented the hard-core segregationist South. And third, the South’s largest industrial center was suffering economically from the loss of vital industry and its poor image on race relations.

People in Action: Most Abused Man in Nation

This article by Dr. King, published in his "People in Action" series in the New York Amsterdam News, describes the national and local reaction to the Birmingham jailing of Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth and J. S. Phifer.

Photograph Outline for "Why We Can't Wait"

This draft outlines the images and captions used in Dr. King's book "Why We Can't Wait." Some of the material incorporated includes images and descriptions of Dr. King at the 1963 March on Washington, the Birmingham Campaign, other heavily involved civil rights leaders, and Dr. King's family.

The Lonesome Road

Stanley D. Levison sends Dr. King an article from The Washington Post titled "The Lonesome Road," which is a review of Dr. Kings book, "Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?" Martin Duberman, the author of the article, explains Dr. King's reasons for writing the book, and Duberman also provides a favorable review of the publication.

The Nation: Hammer of Civil Rights

This article by Dr. King appeared in the March 9, 1964, edition of The Nation. Dr. King discusses the impetus for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations' commitment to the cause. Recognizing the complexity of such a political movement, King lauds the President Johnson for fighting off attempts to weaken the bill. King also recognizes the achievements of the Fair Employment Committee, established by President Kennedy and headed by then-Vice President Johnson, in providing employment opportunities for many southern Negroes.

The New Leader: MLK's Letter from Birmingham Jail

The New Leader, a New York-based biweekly magazine, published Dr. King?s Letter from Birmingham City Jail. This historic piece is a response to the views of some fellow clergymen that Dr. King's methods are both "unwise and untimely.? King's critics had branded him an "outside agitator" and an extremist who should not be advocating lawbreaking. Dr. King responds with this letter and references prominent historical figures to counter these criticisms.