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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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.

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.

Letter From Maria Diego to Dr. King

Thursday, November 18, 1965

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

Speech to the Synagogue Council of America

Sunday, December 5, 1965

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 Malcolm X to MLK

Wednesday, July 31, 1963

Malcolm X invites Dr. King, along with other Negro leaders, to give an analysis and a solution on the current "race problem" at a rally in New York on August 10th.

Letter from Reverend Virgil W. Glanton to SCLC

Saturday, June 18, 1966

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

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.

"Meaning of Georgia Elections"

Saturday, July 3, 1965

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.

An Appeal by Puerto Ricans for Fair Treatment

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.

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

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.

Black Power - Dr. Vincent Harding

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.

The Deep South in Social Revolution

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

Face the Nation Interview

Sunday, August 29, 1965

This is a transcript of an August 1965 interview of Dr. King on the CBS television news program Face the Nation. King is asked to comment on numerous issues facing American society including the conflict in Vietnam, civil rights, housing and birth control.

Letter from the United Nations to SCLC

Friday, January 26, 1968

The United Nations Special Committee on the Policies of Apartheid of the Government of the Republic of South Africa, requests information regarding activities planned and undertaken by the SCLC against apartheid.

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 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.

Letter from Howard Schomer to Robert Kennedy

Saturday, October 26, 1963

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?

Telegram from UFT President Albert Shanker to MLK

Wednesday, September 13, 1967

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

The Central Presbyterian Church Letter to MLK

Monday, August 1, 1966

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.

Telegram from MLK to Cesar Chavez

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

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.

Conference on Strengthening the New Politics

Monday, December 20, 1965

Paul Albert forwards this letter to all individuals invited to and interested in the Shoreham Conference, in which Liberals address the shortcomings of American politics.

Two Noted Rights Workers Added to Staff of SCEF

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.

King's Way Hurts Rights Movement

Mr. White, author of this article, argues that the political fallout from Dr. King's stance on America's involvement in Vietnam hinders the goals of the Civil Rights Movement.

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.

Request from The Wooster Afro-American Students Organization

Tuesday, March 19, 1968

The Wooster Afro-American Students Organization inquires if Dr. King would be available to speak to the institute about the concept of Black Power.

Chicago Freedom Fund Festival

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

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.

SCLC Report: Operation Breadbasket

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 Pierre C. Armand to MLK

Monday, April 1, 1968

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.