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Muste, Abraham John

b. 1885 - d. 1967

Abraham Johannes (A. J.) Muste was recognized as the leading pacifist in twentieth century America. Born in Holland, he came to the U.S. with his immigrant family. He became a pastor but was expelled from his church in World War I when he declared his pacifist convictions. He was active in the secular labor movement but then had a renewed conversion to Christ and the Sermon on the Mount as the way to societal transformation. From 1940 to 1953 he was executive director of the pacifist Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR). As a founder of the Congress of Racial Equality, he mentored FOR staff members Bayard Rustin, James Farmer and James Lawson. He opposed the Cold War and the Vietnam War, continuing his practice of what he called Holy Disobedience, facing arrest in both America and Saigon. He introduced Dr. King to the Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh. King writes of being “deeply moved” by Muste in hearing him at Crozer Seminary and maintained a relationship with A. J. until the time of Muste’s death.

Associated Archive Content : 15 results

International Confederation for Disarmament and Peace

Kenneth Lee, President of the International Confederation for Disarmament and Peace, asks Dr. King if he would consider becoming a sponsor for the organization.

Letter from AJ Muste to MLK

A.J. Muste encloses a letter from Cherian Thomas to Dr. King and references a previous telegram he sent congratulating Dr. King on winning the Nobel Peace Prize.

Letter from E. F. S. Davies to MLK

E. F. S. Davies, Head of the Department of Philosophy at Virginia State College, writes Dr. King regarding A. J. Muste's civil rights efforts in the 1930's and 1940's.

Letter from Frances Witherspoon to MLK

Frances Witherspoon offers his or her thanks and praise to Dr. King's new book and efforts in promoting racial unity.

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 Jerome Davis to MLK

Jerome Davis invites Dr. King to receive the Gandhi Peace Award. The Gandhi Foundation wants to give Dr. King the award alongside U.S. Senator Fulbright.

Letter from John R. Yungblut to CSK

Mr. Yungblut of Quaker House, writes Mrs. King to inquire whether the King Children may be interested in participating in a youth dramatics program.

Letter from MLK to AJ Muste

After considerable thought and prayer, Dr. King informs the recipients of this letter of his decision to travel to the Soviet Union under the sponsorship of the American Baptist Convention. He conveys his sense of duty as a Negro leader to speak to Baptists in Russia.

Letter from MLK to Dr. E.F.S. Davies

Dr. King recognizes the significant work of fellow activist A.J. Muste and the Fellowship of Reconciliation. He states that he is a diligent member of the organization and pledges his full fledged support to Muste's leadership.

Memo from the American Lutheran Church to Denver Area Pastors

David Brown of the American Lutheran Church sends an article and copy of a letter from a pastor responding to the article to Denver area pastors. The article, published in "Common Sense," depicts Dr. King as a "Marxist tool" and agitator.

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.

Spring Mobilization Background Material

The Spring Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam announces Dr. King as its speaker for their April 15 march. In addition, this document offers background information on the conflict in Vietnam.

Spring Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam

This letter informs fellow members of the Spring Mobilization to End the War in Vietnam of the successes of their organization and serves as a call to action on the upcoming steps.

The Student Mobilizer: Build Vietnam Week!

Focusing on the Vietnam War, this issue of The Student Mobilizer covers topics concerning student mobilizations to protest the war, regional meetings, and the organization of a Vietnam Week to help drum up public support and awareness.

War and Pacifism

Dr. King examines War and Pacifism. He determines that absolute pacifism is not acceptable, but neither is war. He cites several different philosophies of pacifism and nonviolence set forth by such figures as Nels Ferre, John H. Hallowell, A. J. Muste and Mahatma Gandhi.