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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.
Dr. King writes of the influence of Henry David Thoreau's essay on the duty of civil disobedience in forming his belief that non-cooperation with evil is a moral obligation. He cites lunch-counter sit-ins, freedom rides, and the bus boycott as evidence that Thoreau’s thinking is still alive. This article appeared in a special 1962 issue of The Massachusetts Review commemorating the centennial of Thoreau’s death.
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.
This pamphlet announces a World Constitutional Convention to be held in Switzerland. Dr. King, who was among the signers of a "Call for a Constitutional Convention," is quoted in the leaflet stating that a world government would lessen tensions.
The Italian weekly magazine, Mondo Domani, plans to publish a lengthy article on Gandhi. The editors wish to include Dr. King's response to several questions on nonviolence, outlined in this letter from their United States Representative Enzo Viscusi.
Richard W. Boone provides the officers and vice chairmen of the Citizens' Crusade Against Poverty with the forthcoming meeting dates and attendance card.
The Catholic Interracial Council releases a statement announcing Raymond M. Hilliard as the Chairman of the 1964 John F. Kennedy Award Dinner. During the event, Dr. King will be honored for his leadership and dedication to the civil rights struggle. Hilliard, whom President Johnson named to the National Citizens Committee for Community Relations to advise on the implementation of civil rights legislation, called Dr. King's work "inspired and truly Christian" and said that the CIC was honored to celebrate him.
This summary of the SCLC's Ninth Annual Convention describes events that were instrumental in the formation of the organization. The document outlines the ongoing projects of the organization and offers proposals for future efforts.
Robert Lodge questions Dr. King about the future and past of the Civil Rights Movement during a Press Conference USA recording.
Mr. Heiskell extends an invitation for Dr. King to join Mayors of major cities and other national leaders in forming a coalition to address urban problems.
Sanford Kahn requests Dr. King's support for an effort to abolish the death penalty at the federal level. If given Dr. King's support, Kahn proposes listing the SCLC as a participating member of the ad hoc committee. If the SCLC cannot be listed, Kahn suggests Dr. King serve as an advisor.
Leonard Smith writes to Dr. King concerning a new venture of the National Sharecroppers Fund, which seeks to invest Negro business captial in Southeastern farming areas to benefit the rural poor.
Curtis W. Harris, of the Virginia State Unit of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, wrote to Dr. King to alert him that the Smithfield Packing Company has a labor situation very similar to that of Scripto in Atlanta. Harris explains that none of the senior Negro employees are in the appropriate income bracket and could use Dr. King's assistance.
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."
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.
Arnold Aronson sends the agenda for an upcoming meeting for the Executive Committee of the Leadership Conference. Important topics of discussion include the Civil Rights Act of 1967 and the Freedom Budget.
The John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company is called to discuss racial discrimination. Ministers from Operation Breadbasket explain that they will commence an investigation to possibly eradicate the unequal employment practices of the company.
Pastor Bill Lawson writes Dr. King seeking his help with spreading the Civil Rights Movement in Houston. He asks King to establish a permanent SCLC office in Houston and engage in nonviolent demonstrations.
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.