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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Urban League Feeling a Financial Squeeze

Wednesday, September 15, 1965
Chicago, IL

This article focuses on the Chicago Urban League's struggle to gain financial support from contributors. According to the organization's director Edwin C. Berry, former contributors failed to accept the fact that the goals and scope of the league would preclude the organization from becoming a "protest group."

Telegram from MLK to Judy Silver & Gordon Geller

Atlanta, GA, Ohio (OH)

Dr. King salutes the Cincinnati Committee of Concern for Soviet Jewry for their efforts to end discrimination against the Jewish people of the U.S.S.R.

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?

Letter from A. Philip Randolph to MLK about a Contribution

Thursday, March 9, 1967
New York (NY), New York, NY

In this letter A. Philip Randolph asks Dr. King for contributions needed to carry out the work of the National Advisory Committee On Farm Labor (NACFL). Randolph states, "NACFL stretches its limited funds far, but now at this critical point we must ask for your support".

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.

News/Letter: Atlanta Workshop in Nonviolence

Wednesday, November 1, 1967
Atlanta, GA, Washington, D.C., Montgomery, AL, VIETNAM, Georgia (GA)

Here is a 1967 newsletter from the Atlanta Workshop in Nonviolence, covering a number of topics including the Vietnam War, the March on Washington, fascism, and non-violent tactical plans.

The Many Faces of Black Power

CHINA, CUBA, FORMER SOVIET UNION / USSR

The author identifies several approaches to the notion of Black Power. The author concludes that Black Power is "a programmatic concept capable of objective definition", "it presents many difficulties", and that the negatives have outweighed the positives.

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.

Revolution in the Delta: Farm Hands Go on Strike

Mississippi (MS)

David R. Underhill discusses the strike of farm laborers in various Mississippi Delta cities. Underhill highlights strike procedures, methods, and locations.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Statement from the Eisenhower Administration to the NAACP

Sunday, June 26, 1955
New Jersey (NJ), Atlantic City, NJ, Washington, D.C.

In an address to the NAACP, Vice President Richard Nixon discusses the reasons that progress has been made in the Eisenhower Administration and the goals that the organization needs to continue working toward.

Telegram from UFT President Albert Shanker to MLK

Wednesday, September 13, 1967
New York, NY, New York (NY)

Albert Shanker expresses his appreciation to Dr. King for his support throughout the tumultuous 1967 education crisis in New York City.

Speech to the Synagogue Council of America

Sunday, December 5, 1965
New York (NY), CHINA

Dr. King receives the Judaism and World Peace Award from the Synagogue Council of America and uses the occasion to speak about the Civil Rights Movement and international peace. He laments the vehement criticism of dissent and discussion of the Vietnam War and enumerates reasons why the Hebrew prophets are so needed today.

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 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.

Letters from Jeanette Allen Behre to MLKCharles. H. Behre to MLK

Thursday, June 1, 1967
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, VIETNAM, Atlanta, GA, Georgia (GA), New Jersey (NJ), CHINA

Two professors of Columbia University, Dr. Jeanette Allen Behre and Chas. H. Behre Jr., express their dissent with Dr. King taking a public stand on the war in Vietnam. The professors feel Dr. King is jeopardizing his support for the civil rights.

Soap, Brush Help

Chicago, IL, Illinois (IL)

Addressing Chicago slums, the focal point of Dr. King's Chicago crusade, the writer of the article calls for all tenants, regardless of race, creed or color, to assume some responsibility for the upkeep of their buildings instead of expecting Dr. King and the landlords of the buildings to solve the issue for them.

Support Negro Business

Atlanta, GA, Chicago, IL

This ad by Operation Breadbasket contains a letter from Dr. King promoting support of Negro businesses.

Injunction from the City of Birmingham

Atlanta, GA, Ohio (OH), Cincinnati, OH, Alabama (AL), Birmingham, AL

Several members of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, including Dr. King, receive a temporary injunction from the City of Birmingham.

Letter from Irwin Heilner to MLK

Thursday, December 19, 1963
Atlanta, GA, Georgia (GA), New Jersey (NJ)

Music composer Irwin Heilner corresponds with Dr. King inquiring about the possibility of composing music and setting it to King's "I Have A Dream" speech.

Letter from Richard A. Russell to MLK about Integrated Housing

Tuesday, November 22, 1966
Atlanta, GA, Georgia (GA)

In this letter to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Mr. Russell inquires about the Federal Housing Administration's decision on the requirements of housing integration.

SCLC: Summary Of Ninth Annual Convention

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Alabama (AL), Birmingham, AL, Montgomery, AL, Selma, AL, Georgia (GA), Atlanta, GA, Massachusetts (MA), Boston, MA, Mississippi (MS), Greenwood, MS, VIETNAM, Washington, D.C., Virginia (VA), DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, Louisiana (LA), Tennessee (TN), Illinois (IL), Chicago, IL, Ohio (OH), Cleveland, OH, New Jersey (NJ), Pennsylvania (PA), Philadelphia, PA, Florida (FL), New York (NY), New York, NY, UNITED KINGDOM, London, England, FRANCE, CONGO / ZAIRE, SOUTH AFRICA, Johannesburg, South Africa, NIGERIA, ITALY, NORWAY, Oslo, Norway, California (CA), Los Angeles, CA, North Carolina (NC), South Carolina (SC), Brooklyn, NY

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.

Letter to MLK from Homer Brown

Monday, October 4, 1965
Atlanta, GA

Homer Brown writes Dr. King regarding his experience with racism in the Railway Express Agency.

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.

Letter from Pastor William A. Lawson to MLK

Sunday, September 25, 1966
Texas (TX), Dallas, TX

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.

Letter from International Institute for Peace to MLK

Sunday, June 12, 1966
Geneva, Switzerland, VIETNAM, AUSTRIA

O. P. Paliwal and Yves Choliere, from the World Council of Peace, invite Dr. King to speak at a session in Geneva about the well being of Vietnam.

A Knock At Midnight

Sunday, August 9, 1964
Atlanta, GA, New York (NY), New York, NY, New Jersey (NJ), Mississippi (MS), Alabama (AL), Birmingham, AL

In a tape-recorded address to the Riverside Church in New York City, Dr. King compares the civil rights struggle to a parable from St. Luke. His sermon specifically tackles contemporary social issues such as segregation, discrimination, and the philosophy of nonviolence. In addition, Dr. King explores the role of the church in dealing with such problems.