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Spock, Benjamin

b. 1903 - d. 1998

Benjamin Spock, pediatrician and author of the best-selling book, Baby and Child Care, was an activist for peace and nuclear disarmament. His work emphasized the child as an individual, encouraging parents to be more flexible and affectionate toward their children. Spock co-chaired the National Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy (SANE) and was an outspoken critic of the Vietnam War. In April 1967 he and Dr. King jointly led an anti-war march to the United Nations. Spock was indicted, convicted and sentenced to two years in prison and a $5000 fine for advocating draft resistance, the conviction later overturned. In 1972, he was a presidential candidate of the People’s Party, a short-lived, anti-war party. Spock was blamed for causing anti-war protests, his critics suggesting that protesters were raised by permissive parents.

Associated Archive Content : 30 results

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.

Dr. Spock Joins King in March

Pediatrician and anti-war activist Dr. Benjamin Spock and Dr. King lead thousands of individuals throughout the streets of Chicago in objection to the Vietnam War. Both Dr. King and Dr. Spock express their dissatisfaction with President Johnson's focus on Vietnam rather than the war on poverty.

Dr. Spock, Dr. King and Rev. Rice Marching Down 5th Ave. NYC. April 15, 1967

This photo comes from the Benedict J. Fernandez "Countdown to Eternity" portfolio.
(Copyright: Benedict J. Fernandez)

Emergency Rally--Walk with Dr. Spock for Peace in Vietnam

The following document is promoting a rally for peace in Vietnam. Dr. Benjamin Spock, among others, is scheduled to speak at the rally.

International Issues: January 26, 1968

This edition of the National Council of Churches "International Issues" features a report on the indictment of Dr. King's close associates and fellow peace activists Rev. William Sloane Coffin, Jr. and Dr. Benjamin Spock along with three other peace leaders. The indictment accuses the men of "conspiracy to counsel, aid and abet" draft evasion. The accused were charged on January 5, 1968, a few months after signing an open letter entitled "A Call to Resist Illegitimate Authority," which was published in several newspapers.

Letter from Benjamin Spock to MLK

Benjamin Spock, Co-Chairman for the National Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy, solicits Dr. King as a sponsor for a testimonial dinner. The committee will honor Max Youngstein with its Eleanor Roosevelt Peace Award at the dinner.

Letter from Benjamin Spock to MLK

Dr. Spock, pediatrician and Vietnam anti-war activist, writes Dr. King to enlist his support for an anti-war effort by joining in a "statement of common concern" with other "key spokesman for major American interests and institutions." He proposes that the group hold a press conference to release the statement with the intention of encouraging collective action against the Vietnam War. Dr. Spock indicates that he would like to hold the press conference on March 7, 1966. Dr. Spock hopes the group can get an audience with President Johnson to discuss their concerns.

Letter from Clarence E. Duffy to MLK

Rev. Duffy expresses his religious and political concerns with Dr. King as he considers a potential presidential campaign in 1968.

Letter From Don Rothenberg of Ramparts to MLK

Don Rothenberg, the Assistant to the Publisher of Ramparts Magazine, sent this letter to Dr. and Mrs. King with an advance copy of the January issue. The magazine, which was associated with the New Left, reported on the napalming of Vietnamese children in the war. Upon reading this, Dr. King was moved to become more vocal against the Vietnam War, which he later did, starting in April of 1967 with his "Beyond Vietnam" speech.

Letter from Eleanor S. Greve to MLK

Eleanor Greve writes Dr. King to express the encouragement and inspiration she and her husband felt while reading a portion of Dr. King's speech in the Philadelphia Inquirer. The speech was given before the Chicago Area Committee for a Sane Nuclear policy.

Letter from MLK to Dr. Benjamin Spock

Dr. King thanks Dr. Spock, famed pediatrician and social activist, for his recent contribution to the SCLC.

Letter from SANE's Dr. Benjamin Spock to MLK

Dr. Benjamin Spock requests the support of the SCLC for "A Rally for Peace in Vietnam." Dr. Spock informs Dr. King, that the rally will advocate for immediate actions concerning the war in Vietnam.

Letter from Tom Cochran to MLK

Mr. Cochran highlights the need for more responsible leadership within the Civil Rights Movement and also more involvement from middle-class Americans.

Letter from Tom Perry to MLK

Tom Perry thanks Dr. King for inspiring him to continue his work in the peace movement in Canada.

Letter to the Editor of the New York Times

On April 15, 1967, a massive antiwar demonstration was held in New York City. Demonstrators marched from Central Park to the United Nations building where they were addressed by prominent political activists such as Dr. King, Floyd McKissick, Stokely Carmichael, James Bevel, Jan Berry Crumb, and Dr. Benjamin Spock. In this letter, a veteran and demonstrator writes the Editor of the New York Times to express his critical view of an article that reported on the event.

Malcolm X Memorial Flyer

This flyer promotes a salute to American freedom and peace fighters at the Malcolm X memorial event held at Stuyvesant High School. The flyer outlines scheduled topics, speakers, and entertainers.

Malcolm X Memorial Flyer

The United Federation of Parents, Teachers and Students present the Malcolm X Memorial flyer saluting American Freedom Fighters. Honorees include LeRoi Jones, Bill Epton and Dr. Benjamin Spock. Slated guest speaker, H. Rap Brown and many other community activists/entertainers.

MLK Address Regarding the Negro Family

In this address, Dr. King discusses the struggles of the Negro family. He states that the Negro family's life determines the individuals' capacity to love. Dr. King also discusses how American slavery has impacted the Negro family.

New Left Versus Old Liberals in Battle for Dr. King's Soul

Conservative syndicated columnists Rowland Evans and Robert Novak claim that Dr. King's soul is being challenged by various factions with whom he has associated. Evans and Novak question Dr. King's relationship with Stokely Carmichael by reminding him of his promise never to work with Mr. Carmichael again.

Newspaper Article - South May Hold Best Hope for Martin King

This newspaper article describes efforts of Dr. King in seeking aid for Negroes in Northern cities slum areas and the formation of a third political party to run in the 1968 Presidential Elections.

Request for MLK To Submit an Article for TV Guide

TV Guide seeks Dr. King's critique of television's positive contributions to life in the U.S., race relations, and negro life.

Telegram from Dr. Benjamin Spock to MLK

Mr. Spock invites Dr. King to send a representative to a discussion on the upcoming Washington Vietnam Mobilization.

Telegram from Phil Stovin to MLK

Mr. Stovin praises Dr. King for his nonviolent approach towards achieving peace.

Telegram from SANE Co-Chair Benjamin Spock to MLK

Dr. Benjamin Spock, acting as co-chairman of the National Committe for a Sane Nuclear Policy, transmits a telegram to Dr. King inviting him to deliver a speech at Madison Square Garden in reference to Vietnam.

Telegram to Dr. Benjamin Spock from MLK

In May 1967 Dr. King sends a telegram to Dr. Spock (an American pediatrician whose book Baby and Child Care, published in 1946, is one of the biggest best-sellers of all time) while he is in Geneva to praise him on taking a stance on controversial issues.

The Emergency Civil Liberties Committee Defends the Constitutional Rights

ECLC writes to ask for assistance with their efforts to criminalize governmental draft tactics. As staunch supporters of the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, ECLC argues that the Draft is a violation of citizen's constitutional rights. Furthermore, they have dedicated their services to protecting the rights of youth, arguing that the draft is economically discriminatory in "student deferments". The organization challenges other civil liberties organizations to join them in this fight.

The Negro Family: A Challenge to National Action

Dr. King addresses the topic of the Negro family. He emphasizes the importance of discussing the Negro family in comparison to other races.

TV Guide Requests Article on TV's Contributions to Civil Rights

TV Guide, in a letter signed by editor Merrill Panitt dated April 11, 1967, invites Dr. King to write an article of 1500 to 2000 words on the positive role television has played in fostering better relations between the races. The previous year, the magazine published a series on television?s impact on society that was largely negative. A proposed series for the 1967-1968 television season would recognize some of the good things television has accomplished. Dr. King is offered $1000 for the article.

U.S. Reds Fan Racist Flames To Stir Vietnam War Protest

William F. Buckley, a conservative columnist, decries the involvement of Negro leaders such as Dr. King and Stokely Carmichael n a recent Vietnam War protest. He compares Carmichael with members of the Ku Klux Klan, and he also alleges Communist involvement with the protest.

Women's International League for Peace and Freedom Newsletter

This issue of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom newsletter, Four Lights, was sent to Coretta Scott King. It features an article about the current state of their demonstrations against Vietnam, including a quote by Dr. Benjamin Spock calling on President Johnson to end the attack on the Vietnam War.