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Direct Action

Direct action is the strategic use of nonviolent tactics and methods to bring an opponent or oppressive party into dialogue to resolve an unjust situation. It is used as a moral force to illustrate, document and counter injustices. Gene Sharp originally wrote of 198 methods but the number keeps growing. The techniques and tactics for direct action include rallies, letter-writing campaigns, vigils, petitions, fasts, walks and marches, civil disobedience and boycotts. In Letter from Birmingham Jail, Dr. King mentions four steps of nonviolent campaigns: fact-finding, negotiation, self-purification and direct action. These can be seen, for example, in the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Freedom Rides.

Associated Archive Content : 142 results

1967 Geneva Convocation

Dr. King provides introductory remarks to participants of the Pacem In Terris II Convocation held in Geneva, Switzerland. He addresses several moral and political concerns as it relates war and Vietnam.

5th Company Gives in to Breadbasket Demands for Jobs

The author writes about how operation breadbasket completed successful negotiations for new jobs for Negroes within the Chicago dairy industry.

A Look to 1964

This is a draft of the article "A Look to 1964" written by Dr. King. Published on January 1, 1964 in the New York Amsterdam News. In the article, Dr. King addresses the strides the African American people have taken towards the struggle for equality.

A Manual for Direct Action

In this foreword Bayard Rustin provides an introduction into the rules and tips involved in nonviolent action concerning protests. Mr. Rustin describes nonviolent methods that people can use when encountering dangerous or difficult situations.

Address by MLK at SCLC Ministers Conference

Dr. King addresses those in attendance at the Southern Christian Ministers Conference. He brings words of encouragement to those working diligently for social change in Mississippi. He speaks words of promise that things will change since the Supreme Court has ruled segregation unconstitutional and he gives examples of how things are slowly changing. However, he acknowledges that there is still much work to be done, especially in the South. Dr. King lists actions that must be at the top of everyone's list to be taken care of.

Agenda for the SCLC State and Local Leaders

This agenda outlines several topics discussed for the Southwide Meeting of State and Local Leaders. Dr. King, the President of the SCLC, spoke on SCLC's 'People to People' Program.

Annual Report by MLK

Dr. King illustrates in his annual report the innovative changes that have occurred within the country, as well as the world. He also expresses the Republican stand point on civil rights and the constant concern of racism.

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.

Appeal for Brotherhood to the City of Birmingham

On behalf of the Southern Alabama Movement for Human Rights and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, C. T. Vivian writes this appeal in the "spirit of nonviolent love" to the citizens of Birmingham. His purpose is to awaken conscientiousness and gain their support in creating brotherhood and a better city.

Appreciation Letter from MLK to Maitland Griggs

Dr. King expresses his gratitude for Maitland Griggs contribution to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Background Information on March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom

This passage provides a reason as to why the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom had to occur. The Brown vs. Board Supreme Court decision, the Prayer Pilgrimage, and other peaceful demonstrations all resulted in the march.

Biographical Sketch of Dr. Ralph David Avernathy

This biographical sketch of Dr. Abernathy outlines his positions, recognitions, education, travel experience and personal life. Dr. Abernathy served as President of the SCLC after Dr. King's death and also served as a member of the NAACP, and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.

Birmingham Manifesto

The Birmingham Manifesto was formulated as a testament to explain the reasons why efforts were being made to desegregate Birmingham. According to the Manifesto, broken promises were made by city and state officials, which led to plans of direct action.

Black Power

This is a chapter sermon for Dr. King's book "Where Do We Go From Here?" The civil rights leader traces the early development of Black Power and its eventual surge onto the national political scene. Though understood as a direct opposition to the nonviolent movement that organizations like SCLC, CORE, and SNCC originally supported, King describes Black Power as a "disappointment wrapped in despair."

Blue Spiral Notebook

Contained in this notebook is a draft of Dr. King's statement to Judge James E. Webb following his arrest during the Rich's Magnolia Tea Room Sit-In. There is also an outline of a letter to female students who were arrested during the sit-in. On other pages a child practices handwriting.

Book Cover Notes

These remarks about Dr. King's book, "Where Do We Go From Here?" were prepared for the cover of his book and offer a very helpful overview of the early days of Dr. King's work.

Brochure: "Some Important Fiscal Facts about the SCLC"

This document contains information about SCLC's administration, role, duties, and actions that its staff fulfills with the money donated to the organization.

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.

Congress of Racial Equality Proposal: Recommended Program for School Desegregation

The Congress of Racial Equality recommends a program to end school segregation that includes forming race-neutral curricula and allowing open enrollment in schools.

Constitution and By-Laws of the SCLC, Inc.

The SCLC exhibits its rules and regulations for the stability of the organization in this Constitution and by-laws. SCLC's constitution addresses several organizational related factors including board responsibilities, meetings, membership and chapter development.

Convocation on Equal Justice Under the Law

This is a transcript of remarks made by Dr. King at the Convocation on Equal Justice Under Law, sponsored by the NAACP Legal Defense Fund on May 28, 1964.

Current Magazine

This Current Magazine issue on racism in the U.S. features an article "Is Direct Action Necessary" by Dr. King, as well as pieces by James Meredith, James Reston, and others.

Draft of Showdown for Nonviolence

This is a draft, with Dr. King's revisions, of the article "Showdown for Nonviolence" for Look Magazine. The article was published posthumously on April 16, 1968.

Draft of Speech to the National Press Club

Dr. King's speech to the National Press Club in Washington D.C. was delivered a week after he was incarcerated in Albany, Georgia. This draft shows Dr. King's notes on his address about the Civil Rights Movement.

Draft Proposal for Southern Regional Community Services Council

As a draft proposal for the non-profit Southern Regional Community Services Council, this document outlines the purpose and intended methodologies of the organization. The Council's mission is to train local leaders to help the unemployed and poor find jobs. Local leaders would include representation from churches, colleges, farm groups, professionals, and small businesses. Other goals are to increase living standards and cycle income back into businesses that focus on community savings and development.

Draft: The Time for Freedom Has Come

In this draft of Dr. King's article, "The Time for Freedom Has Come," he discusses the role of African American students in the Civil Rights Movement. He praises the commitment and determination of students and credits them with the desegregation of lunch counters. He also identifies with the students' frustration with the slowness of forward progress in the struggle for equality. The article was published in New York Times Magazine on September 10, 1961.

Excerpts from The Negro and the American Dream

In this address to the Charlotte, North Carolina branch of the NAACP, Dr. King outlines five actions that Negroes must address in order to ensure their own first-class citizenship.

Executive Director's Report

William A. Rutherford sends an informal report to the SCLC Executive Board in Washington, D.C. This is Rutherford's first report as an administrator of the organization and it purposes the ways in which the SCLC can better utilize, and apply, their resources.

Fiscal Facts about SCLC

This brochure outlines financial disclosure information regarding SCLC as a non-profit organization.

Freedom Festival Speech on Chicago Campaign

At the Freedom Festival a speech was made in regards to the Chicago Campaign. The campaign focuses on the urban renewal of the area. Specifically, it discusses the unemployment rate and housing conditions of African-Americans.

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