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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 : 14 results

American Journal: Let Justice Roll Down

Carey McWilliams writes to Dr. King to inform him his article, "Let Justice Roll Down," was included in the American Journal, a publication by the US Information Service aimed at representing opinions and current subjects of interest in the United States. This edition, published in 1965, was he 5th year in a row Dr. King had contributed an article describing the tempo of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States.

Draft of MLK's An Open Letter to Negro Youth

In an open letter to Negro Youths, Dr. King urges them to stay committed to the nonviolent principles of social change in their plight to gain broad access to education and employment.

Entering 1964: Toward Full Emancipation

In this draft of an article for the NY Amsterdam News, Dr. King asserts that the thrust of the Negro will increase toward full emancipation as they began the year 1964. Dr. King highlights the March on Washington where both Negroes and whites collectively demonstrated the need for self-respect and human dignity in the United States. He also elaborates on the technique of "selective patronage" to broaden the economic and employment opportunities for the African American community.

Interview about Refusal to Seat Julian Bond

This is transcript of a question and answer period following a news conference at which Dr. King made a statement regarding the Georgia State Legislature's refusal to seat Julian Bond after Bond announced his support of a Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) news release opposing the Vietnam War. King led a protest rally to the state house.

Is It All Right To Break The Law?

Excerpts from Dr. King's 1963 "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" are used to establish an affirmative answer to the question, "Is It All Right to Break The Law?"

Letter From Birmingham City Jail

This version of Dr. King's "Letter From Birmingham Jail," published by the American Friends Service Committee, also includes the original statement made by the clergyman that prompted Dr. King's response. The eight clergymen described Dr. King's actions as "unwise and untimely." In his response, Dr. King references biblical and historical figures to illustrate why the Civil Rights Movement can no longer wait. He also expresses his frustration with many within organized religion and the moderate white American.

Letter from James D. Wyker to MLK

James D. Wyker writes this letter to Dr. King and encloses his proposal for direct action against the Vietnam War. Wyker questions if 60% of the population really supports President Johnson's actions in Vietnam, implying that many citizens are just neutral and not wanting to fight the status quo.

Letter from Raphael Gould to Coretta Scott King

Mr. Gould of the Fellowship of Reconciliation sends Mrs. King a compilation of writings about and by Phan Thi Mai, a Vietnamese student who self-immolated on May 16, 1967 in an appeal to end the war in Vietnam. Mai "decided to burn herself to make her voice heard by the war."

Meet the Press Interview

This is a transcript of NBC television's Meet the Press interview with Dr. King in August 1967 with Edwin Newman as moderator. King answered questions about his views on the Vietnam conflict, nonviolence, and the presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson.

MLK Announces End of Birmingham Campaign

The Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights released these remarks by Dr. King marking the end of the Birmingham Nonviolent Direct Action Campaign. King describes the day as a climax in the long struggle for justice and freedom in Birmingham and gives credit to Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, to the thousands who went to jail, to the whites who worked for just solutions and to God. He speaks of the need for continued progress toward equal job opportunities, equal access to public facilities, and equal rights and responsibilities.

SCLC Newsletter: February 1964

This SCLC newsletter covers items ranging from Dr. King's Nobel Peace Prize nomination to voter registration drives throughout the country. The lead photo features national civil rights leaders "summoned to the White House for a special conference with President Lyndon B. Johnson."

Speech to the Synagogue Council of America

Dr. King receives the Judaism and World Peace Award from the Synagogue Council of America and uses the occasion to speak about the Civil Rights Movement and international peace. He laments the vehement criticism of dissent and discussion of the Vietnam War and enumerates reasons why the Hebrew prophets are so needed today.

Speeches by the Leaders

In this booklet, the NAACP compiled famous speeches from the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Included are speeches from A. Philip Randolph, Roy Wilkins, James Farmer, Rev. Eugene Carson Blake, Rabbi Joachim Prinz, Whitney M. Young, Matthew Ahmann, John Lewis, Walter Reuther, and Dr. King. The booklet concludes with a pledge and a picture of the throng of supporters that attended the event. test

U.S. News & World Report: Negro Leaders Tell Their Plans for '64

Past, present and future efforts in the area of civil rights are discussed in interviews of five organizational leaders in the civil rights movement. These leaders are: Whitney M. Young, Jr. of the National Urban League, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. of the SCLC, Roy Wilkins of the NAACP, James L. Farmer of CORE, and James Forman of SNCC.