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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Campaign for a World Constitution Leaflet

New York, NY, New Jersey (NJ), Illinois (IL), New York (NY), SWITZERLAND, ITALY, NETHERLANDS, INDIA

This pamphlet announces a World Constitutional Convention to be held in Switzerland. Dr. King, who was among the signers of a "Call for a Constitutional Convention," is quoted in the leaflet stating that a world government would lessen tensions.

The Deep South in Social Revolution

Nashville, TN, Tennessee (TN), Tallahassee, FL, Florida (FL), New Orleans, LA, New York, NY, New York (NY), Kentucky (KY), Louisville, KY

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

Letter from Franklin W. Thomas to MLK

Friday, June 2, 1967
Atlanta, GA

Franklin W. Thomas writes to Dr. King to apologize for the delay in honoring his participation in the Hungry Club Forum 20th Anniversary Series.

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".

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.

Two Noted Rights Workers Added to Staff of SCEF

New Orleans, LA, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

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.

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.

Pamphlet About the Black Panther Party

Wednesday, June 1, 1966
Alabama (AL), New York, NY, Birmingham, AL, Chicago, IL, Boston, MA, Selma, AL, Los Angeles, CA

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.

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.

King's Way Hurts Rights Movement

Washington, D.C., Massachusetts (MA), Illinois (IL), Chicago, IL

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

CIC Press Release: Hilliard to Head Catholic Testimonial for MLK

Wednesday, September 23, 1964
Chicago, IL, Illinois (IL), New York (NY), New York, NY, Washington, D.C.

The Catholic Interracial Council releases a statement announcing Raymond M. Hilliard as the Chairman of the 1964 John F. Kennedy Award Dinner. During the event, Dr. King will be honored for his leadership and dedication to the civil rights struggle. Hilliard, whom President Johnson named to the National Citizens Committee for Community Relations to advise on the implementation of civil rights legislation, called Dr. King's work "inspired and truly Christian" and said that the CIC was honored to celebrate him.

Letter From Maria Diego to Dr. King

Thursday, November 18, 1965
JAPAN, SPAIN, Atlanta, GA, Alabama (AL)

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

Letter from Randolph T. Blackwell to MLK Requesting a Leave of Absence from the S.C.L.C.

Monday, June 13, 1966

Randolph T. Blackwell requests a one-year leave of absence from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to work with Citizens Crusade Against Poverty. Blackwell will assist the S.C.L.C. sister organization with its emerging Southern Rural Development Project.

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 Joan Baez's Law Firm to MLK

Wednesday, January 3, 1968
California (CA)

Singer Joan Baez's law firm expresses her appreciation for Dr. King's recent correspondence.

The Ben Bella Conversation

ALGERIA, CUBA, Montgomery, AL, Alabama (AL), Albany, GA, Georgia (GA), Mississippi (MS), New York (NY), New York, NY

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.

Anonymous Letter to Charles C. Diggs Jr.

Alabama (AL), New Orleans, LA, Louisiana (LA), Chicago, IL, Illinois (IL), JAPAN

This anonymous letter to Congressman Charles Diggs, Jr. of Michigan details the grievances suffered by Negro and Caucasian females in the U.S. Army. The authors assert that they routinely are subjected to segregation in public accommodations and are denied equal opportunity for promotion and reenlistment.

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.

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.

Wilkins Praises Darien Teacher Exchange Setup

Friday, December 11, 1964
New York, NY, Missouri (MO), Connecticut (CT)

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."

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.

MLK honored; He sees Kinship in Civil Rights and Family Planning

Washington (WA), New York (NY)

Dr. King receives the first Margaret Sanger Award in Human Rights at the National Conference. Dr. King states, "Negroes have a special and urgent concern with family planning as a profoundly important ingredient in their struggle for security and a decent life."

Temple Sholom Concert Forum Committee Announces MLK as Guest Lecturer

Chicago, IL, Illinois (IL)

Chicago's Temple Sholom encourages interested parties to reserve their tickets soon, given the widespread enthusiasm for Dr. King's upcoming speaking engagement.

Invitation to Harry Belafonte Concert

Friday, May 25, 1962
Johannesburg, South Africa, Georgia (GA), Atlanta, GA

Dr. King invites friends to a Harry Belafonte concert, which is a benefit performance for the SCLC.

MLK Announces End of Montgomery Bus Boycott

Thursday, December 20, 1956
Montgomery, AL

Dr. King, as President of the Montgomery Improvement Association, issued this statement following the US Supreme Court’s decision declaring laws requiring segregation on busses unconstitutional. He announces that the year-long bus boycott is officially over and urges Negroes to return to the buses the next morning on a non-segregated basis. Negroes need to adopt a spirit of understanding toward their white brothers, he says. It is time to move from protest to reconciliation.