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 MLK to Adolph Held

Friday, September 29, 1967
New York, NY, Chicago, IL, ISRAEL, Illinois (IL)

Dr. King writes Adolph Held, President of the Jewish Labor Committee, in response to his inquiry regarding SCLC's position on anti-semitism. Dr. King clarifies a number of distortions produced by the media, and presents the facts of the Chicago Conference of New Politics event throughout the letter.

Letter from Reverend Virgil W. Glanton to SCLC

Saturday, June 18, 1966
Atlanta, GA, New York (NY)

In this letter, Reverend Virgil Glanton gives a contribution to SCLC and offers support for the Meredith March.

Letter from Mark Raphael to MLK

New York (NY), Atlanta, GA

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 Milton S. Eisenhower to MLK

Wednesday, January 26, 1966
New York, NY

This letter from former President Eisenhower's brother Milton, on behalf of Planned Parenthood World Population, requests that Dr. King serve the organization in order to "lend important moral support."

Unity West Program

Thursday, June 1, 1967
Wisconsin (WI), Milwaukee, WI, Washington (WA), UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Unity West issues this worship program for June 1967.

Address to AFL-CIO New York City District 65

New York (NY), Montgomery, AL, Birmingham, AL, Alabama (AL), Selma, AL, Los Angeles, CA, California (CA)

Dr. King speaks to the District 65 AFL-CIO to address the importance of job opportunities in the northern and southern regions of the United States. He explains that the labor movement must stay active in order to gain civil rights and equal pay for African American workers.

Letter from Matthew T. Doherty to MLK

Tuesday, July 26, 1966
Atlanta, GA, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, New York (NY)

Matthew Doherty responds to an "eloquent and moving" appeal from Dr. King in the July 26th issue of The New York Times. Doherty discusses the recent surge in "black power" and its role in the ongoing struggle for equal rights. The writer also mentions his "small" contribution to aid Dr. King's efforts to "make this a better world for all of us."

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.

Progressive National Baptist Convention Sixth Annual Session

Monday, July 31, 1967
Ohio (OH), Cincinnati, OH, South Africa, Pennsylvania (PA), Philadelphia, PA, Georgia (GA), Atlanta, GA, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

This news release outlines the events and participants for the Sixth Annual Session of the Progressive National Baptist Convention to be held in Cincinnati, Ohio. The theme of the conference is Spiritual Renewal in a Decaying Society.

Co-Op Movements for Black Economic Development

Chicago, IL, California (CA), Virginia (VA), Mississippi (MS), Illinois (IL)

This memorandum sent to Dr. King by Professor St. Clair Drake, is a full proposal for the development/revival of the co-operative movements among negroes in large urban centers.

Black Power: The Politics of Liberation in America

Maryland (MD), VIETNAM, Mississippi (MS), New York, NY, Greenwood, MS

Stokely Carmichael and Dr. Charles Hamilton are in partnership with SNCC to promote the Black Power Movement. SNCC creates "freedom gifts" to provide the community with the expression of the "humanistic spirit" and goal of the movement. These freedom gifts range from posters, poetry, calendars, and more.

Chicago Freedom Fund Festival

Chicago, IL, Little Rock, AR, Nashville, TN, North Carolina (NC), Mississippi (MS), New Jersey (NJ), Detroit, MI, Birmingham, AL, Atlanta, GA

The Chicago Freedom Fund Festival, organized by Mahalia Jackson, served as a benefit for the SCLC.

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.

Selma Friendship Day Report

Selma, AL, Alabama (AL), Mississippi (MS)

This document highlights information surrounding "Selma Friendship Day," which was a white-led counter-protest intended to offset the effects of Kingian boycotts. This counter-protest was met with a demonstration, in which 120 pro-Kingian persons were arrested and the local SCLC office was barricaded.

The Central Presbyterian Church Letter to MLK

Monday, August 1, 1966
Denver, CO, JORDAN

Elmer Elsea enlightens Dr. King on how his involvement with the previous Holy Week brought joy and blessings. Mr. Elsea discovers Dr. King will be returning to the Holy Land of Jerusalem for the Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom. Mr. Elsea encourages Dr. King to utilize Citexco Tours to conduct his expedition.

Letter from James Bevel on the Spring Mobilization Committee

Cleveland, OH, Ohio (OH), New York, NY, New York (NY), VIETNAM, San Francisco, CA, California (CA), Missouri (MO), Baltimore, MD, Philadelphia, PA, Maryland (MD), Chicago, IL, Illinois (IL), CANADA, Washington (WA)

James Bevel, national director of the Spring Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam, offers insight into the purpose of the committee. The committee focuses on launching two mass demonstrations to stop the war, with the goal of "seeking to stimulate increased activity everywhere."

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

Thursday, July 13, 1967
Illinois (IL), Chicago, IL, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

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.

Statement from American Jewish Congress Regarding the Bundy School-Decentralization Plan

Wednesday, February 28, 1968
New York (NY), New York, NY

Murray A. Gordon, a New York lawyer and national vice president of the American Jewish Congress, endorses the Bundy School-Decentralization plan. Mr. Gordon believes that the reform is essential to good education and assures teachers that the plan will not violate their rights.

Letter from Bishop P. Randolph Shy to MLK

Friday, August 11, 1967
Atlanta, GA, California (CA)

Presiding Bishop of The Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, P. Randolph Shy, declines Dr. King's invitation to attend an upcoming convention. Bishop Shy mentions that he will make a contribution "through our churches to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference."

Letter from Howard Schomer to Robert Kennedy

Saturday, October 26, 1963
New Orleans, LA, Washington, D.C., Louisiana (LA), Birmingham, AL

Howard Schomer asks the US Attorney General several questions about the legality of a police raid that occurred at a Southern Conference Educational Fund (SCEF) office in New Orleans, Louisiana. Schomer wants to know if the statute under which the raid was carried out has legal force and does the Department of Justice have an obligation to make its evidence public?

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.

"Meaning of Georgia Elections"

Saturday, July 3, 1965
Georgia (GA), Michigan (MI), Selma, AL, Montgomery, AL, Atlanta, GA

Dr. King speaks about the Southern Christian Leadership Conference's Summer Community Organization and Political Education Project (SCOPE). He also talks about the political advancements that were made in the south.

Telegram from Minsters of Operation Breadbasket to Robert E. Slater

Wednesday, November 22, 1967
Boston, MA, Baltimore, MD

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.

Telegram from MLK to President Kennedy

In this draft telegram, Dr. King expresses his appreciation to President Kennedy for the Executive Order outlawing discrimination in all federally assisted housing.

Program from The Poor People's Campaign Committee for Nassau County

Dr. King delivers an address for the Poor People's Campaign Committee of Nassau County.

Letter from Leon Lowry to the King's

Saturday, December 8, 1962
Florida (FL), Atlanta, GA

A. Leon Lowry invites the Kings to speak at Beulah Baptist Institutional Church in Florida for their Men's and Women's services.

Letter from Leonard E. Smith to MLK

Friday, October 6, 1967
Mississippi (MS), Alabama (AL), GEORGIA, Florida (FL), South Carolina (SC)

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.

Letter from James Farmer to MLK

Wednesday, August 16, 1967
Cleveland, OH, California (CA), ZAMBIA

Chairman J. Farmer gives Dr. King a report from the National Advisory Committee of CORE.

The A. Philip Randolph Institute

New York, NY

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.

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.