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Political Participation

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Material to Use Regarding Negro Leaders and Platform Committee

Bayard Rustin sends Dr. King this pre-written answer to be used if the media ask why Dr. King and A. Philip Randolph are not together during the march before the 1960 Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles. The statement explains that Randolph will be in St. Louis to address the campaign to elect the first Negro Senator.

Memo to SCLC Contributors

This memo from the SCLC Staff highlights political activity taking place in Louisville, Kentucky, Blue Ridge, Georgia, and Cleveland, Ohio. The organization had used the energy from demonstrations to fuel voter registration campaigns. They share stories of collaborations and success that have resulted from their efforts.

Mission Development Report

This report outlines the structure and development of the North Carolina Leadership Training Project.

MLK Address at Mass Meeting in Eutaw, Alabama

Dr. King challenges the Negro residents of Eutaw, Alabama to participate in the upcoming SCLC Poor People's Campaign. In this address, he urges the citizens of Eutaw to occupy Washington, D.C. in an effort to press Congress for a redistribution of wealth in America. He urges, "All ye who are tired of segregation and discrimination, come unto us. All ye who are overworked and underpaid, come unto us."

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 National Biennial Convention

Dr. King delivers this speech at the National Biennial Convention of the American Jewish Congress. The convention took place May 1, 1958 in Miami Beach, Florida. Dr. King discusses how the Jewish and Negro communities are unified by the escape of bondage. They share a common fight against the deadly enemies of oppression. He continues on to discuss the things that need to be done in order for African Americans to reach great potential along with the importance of fighting for and obtaining democracy.

MLK Address to a North Carolina Branch of the NAACP

Dr. King addresses a public meeting of Charlotte, North Carolina's NAACP branch. He lists five actions the Negro can do to assist America with realizing the dream. The Negro must challenge the system of segregation, make efforts to gain ballots, and sacrifice to achieve freedom.

MLK Address to District 65 of the AFL-CIO

Dr. King addresses District 65 of the AFL-CIO in Monticello, New York. He begins by expressing his appreciation to the AFL-CIO for their generous contributions to the Civil Rights Movement. He discusses the impact of the Albany Movement and segregation in the South. Dr. King makes the point that America refers to itself as a world leader, yet we are significantly behind other countries in social and welfare legislation.

MLK Address to the Congress of Federated Organizations

Dr. King addresses the participants in the COFO Mississippi Summer Freedom Project in 1964. He pledges the full support of the SCLC to aid in their mission to register Negro voters and educate them in the process of political participation. In spite of bombings, arrests, and other forms of intimidation, Dr. King urges the members of COFO to persistently work to eliminate the roadblocks to full citizenship.

MLK Address to the Tenth Anniversary Convention of the SCLC

Dr. King, at the Tenth Anniversary Convention of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, addresses numerous civil rights issues the organization is addressing throughout America.

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 Press Conference and Speech Notes

Dr. King stresses that his appearance to Cleveland is not in the interest of the candidates but to urge the people to exercise their political and moral responsibility.

MLK Remarks at the NAACP's Civil Rights Rally

Dr. King addresses the NAACP in regards to the equality of the school systems for Negro students. He urges the crowd to "employ only the highest weapons of dignity and discipline" while continuing to fight against segregation.

MLK Requests Federal Protection from US Attorney General

Dr. King sends this urgent request for protection to US Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach. Negro citizens were brutalized while protesting the arrest of James Orange. Alabama State Troopers prevented protestors from seeking medical attention by refusing to allow them to leave Zion Methodist Church.

MLK Speech: Acceptance of Spingarn Medal

Dr. King addresses the attendees at the NAACP 48th Annual Convention in Detroit, Michigan. He acknowledges the noble men and women of the Montgomery Bus Boycott Movement, for which his leadership earned him this award. Dr. King also discusses the ongoing struggle for civil rights and the nonviolent approach needed for the American Negro to win freedom and justice.

MLK Statement Before the Credentials Committee of the DNC

Dr. King addresses the Democratic National Committee urging them to stand up against the inequities that prevent Negro participation in the political process in the state of Mississippi.

MLK's Address to Addison Junior High

Dr. King explains the importance of education and encourages the students to exercise their abilities to the fullest and strive for excellence. Dr. King further describes the duties each student must fulfill to make an impact on their community and the world.

MLK's Crawfordville, Georgia Speech

Dr. King rallies the people to keep pushing forward with nonviolent actions to gain freedom and dignity as human beings.

MLK's Newsweek Statement

Dr. King issues a statement on the defeat of a federal agency that would have allowed an African American to obtain a cabinet position within the national government.

MLK's Statement on Current Electoral Politics

This is the draft of a statement that Dr. King planned to make, concerning the state of politics in America. Dr. King expresses his disappointment in that "the quality of some of the men elected makes a mockery of responsible government," and urges African-Americans to "lose faith in a shallow 'good will' that provides nothing."

MLK's Statement on Endorsing a 1960 Presidential Candidate

Dr. King states that the SCLC is a non-partisan organization and that he cannot endorse a political party or candidate. He then goes on to express gratitude for Senator Kennedy and Mayor Hartsfield for their continuous support and leadership.

More and Faster

Dr. King writes on the topic of "The Negro Goal: More and Faster." King highlights the black political and social climate in 1964 and discusses how the act of nonviolence gave blacks hope.

National Council of Churches Conference of Negro Leaders Opening Remarks

A. Philip Randolph makes remarks at the Conference of Negro Leaders National Council of Churches about the future of the Civil Rights Movement. Randolph expresses the importance of continuing the fight of social justice through civil rights, economics, housing and poverty.

NCNP Role in the South, 1968, with Proposed Budget

Hosea Williams writes Mr. Pepper persuading him to have a program for the National Conference on New Politics in the South. He feels the programs would help many of the states in the South come together through a south-wide congress. Mr. Williams then includes the targeted states and cities as well as the financial aspects to make sure this program is a success.

Negotiation Now New York Times Advertisement

Negotiation Now, a national pro-American group opposing the war in Vietnam, planned to publish this article as an advertisement in the New York Times. Clark Herr, Reverend John J. Dougherty, Dr. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, and Seymour Martin Lipset send this letter, along with an enclosed draft of the piece, explaining that its publishing has been delayed so it can be updated in the ever changing circumstances in Vietnam. The article addresses the concerns of the movement and urges people to call their representatives.

Negroes See No Future for King as National Leader, Except in Politics

Almena Lomax discusses the public opinions of African Americans on Dr. King being elected to a national office.

New Politics Convention. Chicago, 1967

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

North and South: SCLC Staff News January, 1967

The January, 1967 edition of SCLC's staff newsletter shares Christmas and New Year stories from the staff members and their families. The newsletter also reports on recent activities of the organization such as a Chicago boycott, Junius Griffin's move to the Republican National Committee, a political rally, the SCLC's housing project in Chicago, a recent conference on Negro history, the situation in Grenada, Mississippi and other news items.

Norwegian Peace Initiative

Five Norwegians concerned about the Vietnam conflict propose that winners of the Nobel Peace Prize form a negotiating delegation to visit the US and Hanoi governments.

Observer: The Fiery Savior

Journalist Ponchitta Pierce sends Dr. King an article that details the press conference of "The Militant." In response to questioning, the individual expresses their discontent with liberal politics, the United States of America, and its presence in Vietnam.

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