Themes

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Intersecting Movements

Martin Luther King Jr. was not only a leader in the campaign to end segregation, but also a brilliant coordinator, working with national leaders from a variety of movements who were in solidarity with that struggle. The African-American community itself was complex and dynamic; within it there were leaders who represented a variety of perspectives and efforts directed towards justice, fairness and equality in the United States and around the world. This theme is intended to provide a selection of the documents that represent Dr. King’s engagement of intersecting social movements. It includes correspondence related to organized labor, black nationalism, pan-Africanism and peace organizations.

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Letter From Maria Diego to Dr. King

Thursday, November 18, 1965
JAPAN, SPAIN, Atlanta, GA, Alabama (AL)

Maria Diego requests assistance from Dr. King to aid in funding a new Catholic school building in Japan.

Letter from Beresford Hayward to MLK

Wednesday, February 7, 1962
PUERTO RICO, CUBA, Washington, D.C.

Beresford Hayward, Planning Consultant of the Department of Education in Puerto Rico, writes Dr. King to inform him of the racial climate in Puerto Rico and its issue of Cuban immigration. Mr. Hayward also presents a comparison between the race issues inflicting Puerto Rico and the United States of America.

Pamphlet About the Black Panther Party

Wednesday, June 1, 1966
Alabama (AL), New York, NY, Birmingham, AL, Chicago, IL, Boston, MA, Selma, AL, Los Angeles, CA

This pamphlet contains historical and contextual references to the Black Panther Party. It also includes a speech by John Hulett and an interview of Stokely Carmichael highlighting the political and social movements occurring in Lowndes County, Alabama.

Letter from Pierre C. Armand to MLK

Monday, April 1, 1968
New York (NY), HAITI, GUINEA, Brooklyn, NY

Mr. Armand writes Dr. King concerning the goals of The Haitian Community Center in New York City. The Center attempts to institute programming in order to alleviate the various difficulties of the Haitian community. Mr. Armand also invites Dr. King to speak at a distinguished event as an honorary guest.

Telegram from MLK to Cesar Chavez

California (CA)

Dr. King commends Cesar Chavez for his personal sacrifice and commitment to the use of nonviolence as a way to achieve justice.

Black Power - Dr. Vincent Harding

Atlanta, GA, New York, NY, Mississippi (MS), ALGERIA, Birmingham, AL, Albany, GA, Georgia (GA), EGYPT

Dr. Harding gives a full detailed presentation on Black Power before the Southeastern Regional Advisory Board of the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith.

Telegram from Unius Griffin to MLK

Alabama (AL), Atlanta, GA, Chicago, IL

Unius Griffin writes to Dr. King regarding four Negro political candidates seeking elective offices in Wilcox County, Alabama. Griffin includes information on the increasing numbers of registered Negro voters and speaks to the various intents of each Negro candidate.

People in Action: Sit In, Stand In, Wade In, Kneel In

Nashville, TN, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Chicago, IL, Philadelphia, PA, Los Angeles, CA, New York (NY), Mississippi (MS), Alabama (AL)

In this article in the New York Amsterdam News May 25, 1963, Dr. King says that, through the ballot, Negro voters can change the political structure of the South. He states that for democracy to live, segregation must die; therefore, every form of nonviolent direct action will be used to dismantle it in the South, where it is visible, and in the North, where it is more hidden. Finally, he points out that modern psychologists use the term “maladjusted.” He is glad to be “maladjusted” to segregation, religious bigotry, economic injustice, and militarism.

Letter from Jill Chisholm to MLK

Sunday, January 22, 1967
Atlanta, GA, Chicago, IL, Johannesburg, South Africa

Ms. Chisholm, from South Africa, informs Dr. King of her temporary stay in the United States to research the non-violent movement and work of SCLC. She request to meet with Dr. King to discuss his work in Atlanta, GA and Chicago, IL.

SCLC Annual Report by MLK, 1965

Wednesday, August 11, 1965
Birmingham, AL, Selma, AL, Alabama (AL), Montgomery, AL, Georgia (GA), South Carolina (SC), North Carolina (NC), UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Mississippi (MS)

Dr King delivered this report at the SCLC's ninth annual national convention in Birmingham, Alabama. Serving essentially as a State of the Union address for the SCLC, the report touches on the major topics of the Civil Rights Movement and the recent achievements and goals of the SCLC.

"Dr. King Denounces Write-In Plot"

Monday, November 2, 1964
Atlanta, GA, Washington, D.C.

Contrary to what radio announcements and newspapers advertise, Dr. King urges Negro voters to vote for a presidential candidate that is already on the ballot. He expresses that he is not a candidate and does not want voters to write his name on the ballot.

Rio Grande Farm Workers Bulletin

Wednesday, February 1, 1967
Texas (TX)

This bulletin describes the difficulty that migrant farm laborers have encountered forming organizations to improve economic conditions.

Wilkins Praises Darien Teacher Exchange Setup

Friday, December 11, 1964
New York, NY, Missouri (MO), Connecticut (CT)

Roy Wilkins, Executive Secretary of the NAACP, applauds Darien's efforts to integrate minority and suburban communities through its exchange program with New York City. The program "sought Negro teachers, business and professional people to live and work in their community."

Methodist Church Statement on Vietnam Conflict

VIETNAM, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, CHINA, Washington, D.C.

The Board of Christian Social Concerns of the Methodist Church releases a statement regarding the conflict in Vietnam and possible outcomes and solutions. The board urges steps leading to a withdrawal of US forces from Vietnam.

MLK honored; He sees Kinship in Civil Rights and Family Planning

Washington (WA), New York (NY)

Dr. King receives the first Margaret Sanger Award in Human Rights at the National Conference. Dr. King states, "Negroes have a special and urgent concern with family planning as a profoundly important ingredient in their struggle for security and a decent life."

Address by MLK to American Jewish Committee

Thursday, May 20, 1965
New York, NY, Montgomery, AL, Selma, AL, GERMANY

In this speech, Dr. King addresses the Civil Rights Movement and the use of nonviolent demonstration tactics. He distinguishes between civil disobedience, which involves breaking laws that one does not agree with, and nonviolent demonstration, which involves using one's right to protest. He states that nonviolent protest is inherently American, citing examples from the Civil War, the Suffragettes, and the American Jewish Committee's own lobbying from the early 20th Century.

SCLC Report: Operation Breadbasket

Chicago, IL, New York, NY, Mississippi (MS), Alabama (AL), Georgia (GA), Tennessee (TN), Kentucky (KY), Virginia (VA), Louisiana (LA), Florida (FL), South Carolina (SC)

Rev. Fred C. Bennette, Jr. writes a report on Operation Breadbasket. Rev. Bennette "hopes to increase its activity in alleviating the economic plight of the Negro in America." At the culmination of the report, he lists the main cities where the project will be implemented.

Letter from Prince Johannes of Bohemia to MLK

Sunday, December 17, 1967
Washington, D.C., SWITZERLAND, NETHERLANDS, New York, NY

Prince Johannes, claimant to the throne of Bohemia, requests Dr. King's participation in the Presidium of the World Government.

Invitation to Harry Belafonte Concert

Friday, May 25, 1962
Johannesburg, South Africa, Georgia (GA), Atlanta, GA

Dr. King invites friends to a Harry Belafonte concert, which is a benefit performance for the SCLC.

Temple Sholom Concert Forum Committee Announces MLK as Guest Lecturer

Chicago, IL, Illinois (IL)

Chicago's Temple Sholom encourages interested parties to reserve their tickets soon, given the widespread enthusiasm for Dr. King's upcoming speaking engagement.

Letter from Walter Gibson to MLK

Tuesday, December 5, 1967
VIETNAM, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Mr. Gibson writes to Dr. King concerning his political position on the Vietnam War. He believes that the war is a just war because the end is to help the South Vietnamese halt the spread of communism.

Two Noted Rights Workers Added to Staff of SCEF

New Orleans, LA, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

This article explains Ella J. Baker and John R. Salter were added to the New Orleans based Southern Christian Educational Fund shortly before its headquarters were raided by more than 100 policemen on October 4th.

An Appeal by Puerto Ricans for Fair Treatment

New York (NY), Brooklyn, NY, Chicago, IL, Connecticut (CT), VIETNAM, PUERTO RICO

This document reviews the economic, political, and cultural disparity of Puerto Ricans. The authors explain the history of American imperialism in Puerto Rico and how Puerto Ricans have been mistreated in the United States, particularly in New York. Criticizing the Vietnam War, the authors suggest focusing the funding used abroad on community building.

MLK Letter to Mr. Abe Feinglass

Monday, July 27, 1964
Chicago, IL

Dr. King writes to Abe Feinglass of the Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen's Union, thanking him for the union's booklet on civil rights, "The Time Is Now." King also encloses a statement of endorsement.

Dr. Abernathy Says Full Steam Ahead in '67

Friday, January 6, 1967
Georgia (GA), Atlanta, GA, Illinois (IL), Chicago, IL, Mississippi (MS), Alabama (AL), Lowndes County, AL, Montgomery, AL

Dr. Abernathy recaps accomplishments of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference for 1966. He states several objectives for the organization's efforts for 1967.

Letter of Support to SCLC from SAVE

Friday, July 7, 1967
New York, NY

Gladys Weekes states that she and her fellow members of the Southern Assistant Volunteer Effort (SAVE) are happy to again support the SCLC.

MLK's Address to American Negro Leadership Conference on Africa

Saturday, November 24, 1962
New York (NY), South Africa

Drawing connections between the social injustices of two continents, Dr. King discusses the relationship between segregation in America and colonialism in Africa. Dr. King also shares his opinion about America dominating Africa politically and economically.

A New South A-Coming

Alabama (AL), GEORGIA, South Carolina (SC), Tennessee (TN)

This pamphlet discusses the courageous stand of African American high school students against racial discrimination in the South. The efforts demonstrated by these young people to bring about change of many undemocratic practices were significantly noted in Negro history.

Draft of Statement by MLK on his Involvement With the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers

Philadelphia, PA

Dr. King wishes to clarify his endorsement of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers. He states that he did not mean to imply that there was a civil rights issue in the "collective bargaining election," but rather that he admires the accomplishments of the labor movement.

Letter to Dr. King from Elder G.W. Watkins

Friday, August 2, 1957
Texas (TX)

Elder G. W. Watkins writes Dr. King requesting that he and his organization join the fight to regain Cassius Clay's (Muhammad Ali) title as the Heavy Weight Boxing Champion of the World.