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Kennedy, John F. (John Fitzgerald)

b. 1917 - d. 1963

John F. Kennedy, 35th U.S. president (1961-1963), was the first Roman Catholic to hold this office. During the presidential campaign, he told Coretta Scott King he would help secure Dr. King’s release from Reidsville (Georgia) Prison, winning undecided black voters. Kennedy sent ill-equipped federal marshals to protect Freedom Riders and 3000 unarmed national guardsmen to assure James Meredith’s admission to the University of Mississippi. In 1962, he signed an executive order banning discrimination in federal housing. He federalized the Alabama National Guard in 1963 to desegregate the University of Alabama. That evening, Kennedy delivered his first civil rights policy speech. King unsuccessfully appealed to Kennedy to issue a Second Emancipation Proclamation on the hundredth anniversary of the first. On November 22, 1963, Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas.

Associated Archive Content : 176 results

Letters from Pearce Godfrey to MLK

Pearce Godfrey forwards to Dr. King several letters that he has written concerning his views on United States involvement in Vietnam, the usage of "under God" in the pledge of allegiance, and John F. Kennedy's statement before the United Nations that "life is unfair."

Life Magazine: Why We Can't Wait

This excerpt, taken from Dr. King's book "Why We Can't Wait," appears in an issue of Life Magazine. King parallels the experience of handicapped people to the social handicap of the Negro. Comparing instances of governmental aid, he notes that there has been "countless other measures of compensatory treatment that the nation has accepted and approved as logical and moral." King continues the segment by referencing the stance of three American presidents that he has engaged conversation on the subject of civil rights.

March on Washington

In this news release, Roy Wilkins, Executive Secretary of the NAACP, addresses Congress to voice the people's concern in their quest for freedom, jobs and equal rights. He commends Republicans and Democrats in support of legislation to end discrimination.

Martin Luther King Does It Again

Ralph C. Bailey, a marcher in the New York City demonstration against the War in Vietnam, describes the demonstration as an "impressive spectacle" of people of all ages and races. He praises Dr. King for combining revolution with nonviolence in hopes of a peaceful demonstration.

MLK Address at the AFL-CIO Fourth Constitutional Convention

Dr. King delivers a speech at the Fourth Constitutional Convention of the AFL-CIO to address the lack of equality and rights for laborers and people of color. Dr. King encourages those at the convention to remain steadfast in the fight for social justice in order to overcome the mountain of oppression.

MLK Address at the Georgia State Capitol Regarding Julian Bond

Dr. King delivers this speech at the State Capitol of Georgia protesting the legislation refusal to seat black politician Julian Bond. King calls this a "grave injustice" particularly since the state legislature of Georgia considers itself protecting the United States Constitution. Dr. King points out the irony of this act and exposes other irresponsible actions of the legislature.

MLK Interview: The Negro Protest

Kenneth B. Clark conducts a televised interview with Dr. King, James Baldwin, and Malcolm X. Clark discusses with Dr. King his personal history, the relationship between the love ethic and nonviolent direct action, Malcolm X's claim that nonviolence is perceived by white leaders as weakness, and Baldwin's concern that Negroes will not remain nonviolent if met with brutal responses.

MLK on Communist Infiltration

Dr. King responds to an article written by Joseph Alsop and J. Edgar Hoover that charged communism had infiltrated the Civil Rights Movement.

MLK on the Seating of Julian Bond

Georgia State Legislature has refused to seat Representative-Elect Julian Bond. Dr. King expresses his disdain for the social injustice. His plan of action is to combat this prejudice by rallying members of the white and black community to engage in protest.

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.

MLK Statement at Peace Event in Geneva

Dr. King delivered this statement in Geneva at the Pacem In Terris ("Peace on Earth") II Convocation about the "costly, bloody and futile war in Vietnam."

MLK Statement to Time Magazine

In this statement to Time Magazine, Dr. King responds to President John F. Kennedy's call for new civil rights legislation.

MLK's Public Statement Regarding Julian Bond

Dr. King expresses his indignation for the State Legislatures refusal to seat Representative-Elect Julian Bond. Dr. King asserts that there are obvious racial overtones in the State Legislatures decisions since Mr. Bond received 82 percent of the votes in his district. Dr. King will commence direct action due to the state of urgency.

New York Amsterdam News: Our New President

Dr. King opens his statement on Lyndon B. Johnson, the new president of the United States, and how the tenure of his presidency began with adversity. Due to the elected southern president, the nation questions the possible improvement of the Negro community. Dr. King asserts that President Johnson's record on civil rights is astounding and his "southern-ness" will provide him with a better understanding of the Negro's plight. Dr. King further details the perceptions, actions, and works of President Johnson's efforts in the civil rights movement.

News from the Southern Conference Educational Fund, Inc.

The Southern Conference Educational Fund, Inc. announces their recent involvement with President John F. Kennedy.

Nobel Lecture by MLK

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."

Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech Draft

This is a draft of Dr. King's Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech. Handwritten notes are written in the margins to indicate future amendments. Dr. King states that he experiences this moment of acceptance for himself and "those magnificent devotees of nonviolence who have moved so courageously against the ramparts of racial injustice."

Nobel Peace Prize Lecture

In this lecture delivered the day after he received the Nobel Peace Prize, Dr. King describes the major evils of the world as racial injustice, poverty and war. He presents a vision of a World House in which people learn to transcend differences in race, culture, ideas and religion and learn to live together in peace.

People In Action: Literacy Bill Dies

Dr. King shares his disappointment with the Senate vote that stopped the 1962 Voting Rights Bill, then known as the Literacy Bill. The bill would have eliminated the literacy tests that Dr. King believed were used to keep African-Americans of all education levels from qualifying to vote.

Plans for Progress: Atlanta Survey

The Southern Regional Council releases a special report regarding Atlanta's "Plans for Progress," a program that gives the President's Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity power to require contractors to eliminate discrimination in the workplace. According to a study, only three of the twenty-four firms appeared to be interested in abiding by the "Plans for Progress." These were Lockheed, Western Electric Company, and Goodyear.

Presidential Invitation to White House Luncheon

President Kennedy invites Dr. King to attend a White House Luncheon on the occasion of the visit of Archbishop Makarios, the President of the Republic of Cyprus.

Press Release for Catholic Interracial Council Award

The Catholic Interracial Council of Chicago announces that Dr. King will be awarded the John F. Kennedy Annual Award at their 1964 benefit dinner as a tribute to his leadership. According to polls published in Newsweek magazine, Dr. King's leadership was prized "more than any other single Negro."

Press Release Issued by MLK

The following document is a press release issued by Dr. King. In the first section, he comments on the success of various civil rights demonstrations across the nation. In the second section, of the press release, Dr. King makes a clear distinction between race riots and nonviolent movements in Alabama.

Press Release Regarding President Kennedy's Involvement in the Albany Movement

Dr. King repeatedly called on the support of the White House in the struggles toward civil rights. In this press release, he addresses the negotiation process in Albany, Georgia and expresses his gratitude for President Kennedy's involvement.

Promotional Article for Why We Can't Wait

This Harper released publication contains a preview of the religious books to be published in the summer and fall of 1964. Dr. King's "Why We Can't Wait" is featured with the byline "The 'Man of the Year' writes the 'Book of the Year'."

Proposal: Pilgrimage to Rome

The Pilgrimage to Rome proposal addresses peace issues for an audience with Pope John. The proposal elaborates on the different aspects of the pilgrimage including political approaches, the involvement of women, arrangements, meetings and more. The proposal also entails excerpts from the first responses to the pilgrimage.

Proposed Nobel Speech

This is a draft for an optional version of Dr. King's Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech. He notes the importance of viewing the world as a family and with such perception, understands race issues as an international concern. King also speaks of Sir Alfred Bernhard Nobel, the originator of the Nobel Peace Prize. He accepts the award on behalf of those who came before him and those who continue to fight for freedom.

Reviews of Strength to Love

These reviews of Dr. King's "Strength to Love" illustrate King's use of theological beliefs in conjunction with the struggle for civil rights reform.

Revision on Preferential Treatment

The document contains an addition to a chapter for Dr. King's last book, "Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?" In this insert, Dr. King seeks to clear up questions surrounding preferential treatment for negroes. According to the text, "The program of special aid for Negroes and other deprived groups is in no sense discrimination in reverse."

SCLC News Release on Voter Registration

This press release from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference describes Dr. King's prediction that many African-Americans would register to vote in the upcoming election. Dr. King also remarks that President Kennedy "has not lived up to his civil rights campaign promises."

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