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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Request from The Wooster Afro-American Students Organization

Tuesday, March 19, 1968
Ohio (OH)

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

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.

Letter from Richard W. Boone to MLK

Tuesday, January 11, 1966
Washington, D.C.

A letter from Richard Boone, Executive Director of Citizens Crusade Against Poverty, to Dr. King, enclosing the preliminary draft of the C.C.A.P.'s training proposal to the Ford Foundation.

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.

The Other America

Sunday, March 10, 1968
VIETNAM

Dr. King delivered this speech, "The Other America," for the Local 1199 Salute to Freedom program. The speech emphasized the need to address poverty, the Vietnam War, and race relations in America.

Letter from Silas K. Brown to MLK

Tuesday, December 26, 1967
Chicago, IL, Illinois (IL), Mississippi (MS)

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 MLK to Rabbi S. Burr Yampol

Wednesday, July 12, 1967
Chicago, IL

Dr. King expresses gratitude to Rabbi Yampol, Chairman of the National Committee to Combat Nazism, for sending a copy of his organization's resolution.

Letter from Jill Chisholm to MLK

Sunday, January 22, 1967
Atlanta, GA, Chicago, IL, Johannesburg, South Africa

Ms. Chisholm, from South Africa, informs Dr. King of her temporary stay in the United States to research the non-violent movement and work of SCLC. She request to meet with Dr. King to discuss his work in Atlanta, GA and Chicago, IL.

Telegram from Malcolm X to MLK

Tuesday, June 30, 1964
St. Augustine, FL, New York (NY)

Malcolm X offers Dr. King assistance with the situation in St. Augustine, including the organization of self-defense units.

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 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.

A New South A-Coming

Alabama (AL), GEORGIA, South Carolina (SC), Tennessee (TN)

This pamphlet discusses the courageous stand of African American high school students against racial discrimination in the South. The efforts demonstrated by these young people to bring about change of many undemocratic practices were significantly noted in Negro history.

Blue Spiral Notebook

North Carolina (NC)

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.

The Massachusetts Review: A Legacy of Creative Protest

Friday, September 7, 1962
Mississippi (MS), Albany, GA, Montgomery, AL, Massachusetts (MA), Georgia (GA), Alabama (AL)

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.

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.

Transcript: Press Conference USA

Friday, July 5, 1963
GHANA, South Carolina (SC), Washington (WA), INDIA, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Mississippi (MS), Alabama (AL), Montgomery, AL

Robert Lodge questions Dr. King about the future and past of the Civil Rights Movement during a Press Conference USA recording.

People in Action: Segregation And The Church

Saturday, February 2, 1963
New York (NY), New York, NY, Chicago, IL, Illinois (IL)

In this New York Amsterdam News article of February 2, 1963, Dr. King mentions writer James Baldwin’s scathing indictment of the Christian Church and states that the Church has been complicit in the system of racial segregation or remained silent on racial injustice, the nation’s most urgent social ill. The church should be the headlight, he states, not the taillight and be true to the prophetic call for justice. King takes hope, however, having just attended the National Conference on Religion and Race in Chicago, which brought together Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish leaders.

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.

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."

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.

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."

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 from John Lewis to MLK

Thursday, July 22, 1965
Hawaii (HI), Atlanta, GA

In this letter, John Lewis requests a loan for the amount of $10,000 from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference so that the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee can meet their payroll and cover pressing bills. He then speaks on the importance of continuous dialogue between the SCLC and SNCC.

Chicago Daily News: Operation Breadbasket

Monday, August 8, 1966
Chicago, IL

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.

Letter from MLK to Congressman Ogden R. Reid

Friday, February 19, 1965
Alabama (AL), Selma, AL, Washington, D.C., Georgia (GA), Atlanta, GA

Dr. King informs Congressman Reid (R-New York) of the positive impact he left on Negro citizens during his visit to Selma, Alabama.

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.

SANE Action: Citizens' Milk Strike

Friday, February 16, 1962
New York (NY), RUSSIAN FEDERATION, Nevada (NV), CHRISTMAS ISLAND

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

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.

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."

Letter from Walter Martin to SCLC Officials

Tuesday, February 28, 1967
New York, NY, South Africa

Walter Martin of the American Friends Service Committee, writes to numerous SCLC officials concerning Quaker work in Southern Africa.