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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.
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."
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.
This pamphlet contains historical and contextual references to the Black Panther Party. It also includes a speech by John Hulett and an interview of Stokely Carmichael highlighting the political and social movements occurring in Lowndes County, Alabama.
In this article in the New York Amsterdam News May 25, 1963, Dr. King says that, through the ballot, Negro voters can change the political structure of the South. He states that for democracy to live, segregation must die; therefore, every form of nonviolent direct action will be used to dismantle it in the South, where it is visible, and in the North, where it is more hidden. Finally, he points out that modern psychologists use the term “maladjusted.” He is glad to be “maladjusted” to segregation, religious bigotry, economic injustice, and militarism.
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.
In this letter, Dr. King writes to New York Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller to express his gratitude for the Governor's letter and copy of his new book. Dr. King also refers to the possibility of Gov. Rockefeller's making "a large contribution to the Gandhi Society for Human Rights," and writes extensively about the Society and the effect such a contribution would have.
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.
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.
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.
In this 1962 draft for his column in the New York Amsterdam News, Dr. King emphasizes that school desegregation and the Rosa Parks incident are crucial turning points in the Civil Rights Movement.
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.
Canon L. John Collins, a founder of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, invites Dr. King to speak at a rally in Trafalgar Square in London, England. The proposed rally will be based on the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, and Collins would like to provide a direct link between the rally and the Washington March through the participation of both Bayard Rustin and Dr. King.
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".
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."
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.
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.