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 Joan Daves to MLK

Tuesday, September 8, 1964

This letter from Ms. Daves to Dr. King features requests regarding his itinerary for his trip to England.

Letter of Support to SCLC from SAVE

Friday, July 7, 1967

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

Letter from John A. McDermott Copied to Al Raby and MLK

Thursday, July 13, 1967

John A. McDermott, Executive Director of the Catholic Interracial Council, writes to Al Raby and Dr. King. Mr. McDermott describes the Council's involvement with the Chicago Freedom Movement. Mr. McDermott also expresses his appreciation for Mr. Raby and Dr. King's support in the fight for fair housing legislation in Chicago. McDermott goes on to describe the Movement struggle with the controversial Atomic Energy Commission project in Weston, Illinois.

Wilkins Praises Darien Teacher Exchange Setup

Friday, December 11, 1964

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."

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.

Letter from Nathaniel L. Hawthorne to MLK

Friday, March 22, 1968

Nathaniel Lee Hawthorne, who describes himself as “a nonviolent militant Negro” from rural Virginia, asks Dr. King for advice on publishing a book. Hawthorne wants to tell the nation what it feels like to be poor

Chicago Daily News: Operation Breadbasket

Monday, August 8, 1966

The Chicago Daily News posts an article highlighting Operation Breadbaskets success in opening up two hundred and twenty four jobs in Chicago's dairy industry for Negroes.

Rio Grande Farm Workers Bulletin

Wednesday, February 1, 1967

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

Memorandum from Theodore Brown to MLK and Others

Wednesday, May 17, 1967

Theodore Brown informs Dr. King and other civil rights leaders of a previous letter to President Johnson regarding United States-Africa relations.

The Kinship Between the Labor Unions and Negroes

Dr. King presents a speech at the United Auto Workers Convention in May 1961, which acknowledges the new challenges faced by factory workers because of technological advances that threaten to leave them jobless. He draws a parallel between the plight of auto workers and the Negro experiences of disenfranchisement in the US to highlight the potential for alliance between the two groups.

The A. Philip Randolph Institute

The A. Philip Randolph Institute was organized to mobilize labor, religious and other groups in support of the civil rights movement. Dr. King was a member of the Advisory Board.

MLK's Address About South Africa

Friday, December 10, 1965

Addressing the apartheid situation in South Africa, Dr. King states that white rulers of South Africa, rather than black Africans, are "modern day barbarians." He continues to say that although black South Africans are the majority, they are oppressed by the minority. This is one of many occasions that Dr. King parallels racial injustices and views civil rights as an international issue.

Letter from New York City Mayor to MLK

Tuesday, March 28, 1967

The Mayor of New York, John V. Lindsay, invites Dr. King to a conference entitled "Puerto Ricans Confront the Problems of the Complex Urban Society: A Design for Change." Panel meetings will expound on twelve subjects ranging from "Education" to the "Administration of Justice."

The Deep South in Social Revolution

The Deep South in Social Revolution was the theme for the 1961 SCLC Annual Meeting.

Letter from Beresford Hayward to MLK

Wednesday, February 7, 1962

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.

MLK Letter to Mr. Abe Feinglass

Monday, July 27, 1964

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.

Letter from MLK to Leslie Dunbar

Monday, August 22, 1966

Dr. King writes to Dr. Leslie Dunbar to assure her that the SCLC was indeed ready and able to administer CEP Grant Funds for that school year.

The Ben Bella Conversation

Dr. King summarizes his recent two-hour meeting with Premier Ahmed Ben Bella of the newly-formed Algerian Republic. He mentions that Ben Bella was intimately familiar with the details of the civil rights movement and repeatedly said or inferred that “we are brothers.” King states that “the battle of the Algerians against colonialism and the battle of the Negro against segregation is a common struggle.” There are international implications for the US if it doesn’t solve its human rights problem: the nation will become a second-rate power in the world.

Letter from Randolph T. Blackwell to MLK Requesting a Leave of Absence from the S.C.L.C.

Monday, June 13, 1966

Randolph T. Blackwell requests a one-year leave of absence from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to work with Citizens Crusade Against Poverty. Blackwell will assist the S.C.L.C. sister organization with its emerging Southern Rural Development Project.

Letter from Leonard E. Smith to MLK

Friday, October 6, 1967

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.

SANE Action: Citizens' Milk Strike

Friday, February 16, 1962

As an economic act against pollution and a nuclear war, the National Committee For A SANE Nuclear Policy stages a Citizens' Milk Strike.

Letter from Rabbi Gerald A. Goldman to MLK

Friday, March 1, 1968

Rabbi Gerald A. Goldman invites Dr. King to be a guest at the West Side Peace Committee Conference.

Letter from Silas K. Brown to MLK

Tuesday, December 26, 1967

Mr. Brown requests the help of Dr. King and the SCLC on behalf of Reverend U.S. Gilliam. Reverend Gilliam, the first Negro to run for public office in Grenada, Mississippi, is under attack by whites in his community.

Letter from Prince Johannes of Bohemia to MLK

Sunday, December 17, 1967

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

Agenda for the SCLC State and Local Leaders

Friday, February 2, 1962

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.

Letter from Walter Gibson to MLK

Tuesday, December 5, 1967

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.

Letter from Mark Raphael to MLK

Mark Raphael, the President of the All-Square Student Congress Speaker's Bureau at New York University, invites Dr. King to talk about his priorities in America and plans for Washington.

Letter from William S. Stein to MLK

Friday, May 6, 1966

William Stein informs Dr. King that the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church will be contributing to SCLC.

Letter from George W. Chivers to MLK

Saturday, August 20, 1966

George W. Chivers writes to Dr. King objecting to the Alabama law that disallows women from sitting as jurors. He compares this denial of women's civil rights to the injustices suffered by Negroes in Alabama.

Telegram from Jeffrey Archer to MLK

Wednesday, December 2, 1964

Jeffery Archer of Brasenose College requests a signed copy of one of Dr. King's books for the Oxfam Campaign.