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Dr. King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway on December 10, 1964. In presenting the award, the Nobel Committee Chairman stated that Dr. King was ‘‘the first person in the Western world to have shown us that a struggle can be waged without violence. He is the first to make the message of brotherly love a reality in the course of his struggle, and he has brought this message to all men, to all nations and races.’’ Dr. King accepted the award on behalf of the thousands of participants in The Civil Rights Movement, whom he described as a “mighty army of love.” King regarded the prize as a “commission” that demanded that he move beyond “national allegiances” to speak out for peace.
James Meredith writes from Nigeria to congratulate Dr. King on receiving the Noble Peace Prize and emphasizes that the struggle for human rights is a world-wide struggle. Meredith, the first African-American student to attend the University of Mississippi, was at that time a post-graduate researcher in Nigeria.
Clark Foreman, Director of the Emergency Civil Liberties Committee, congratulates Dr. King on winning the Nobel Peace Prize. Mr. Foreman also asks Dr. King to send a message of congratulations to Dr. James A. Dombrowski, who will receive the Tom Paine Award at the 1964 Bill of Rights Dinner. Dombrowski, a Methodist minister, was co-founder of the Highlander Folk School in Tennessee.
This is a draft of Dr. King's Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech. Handwritten notes are written in the margins to indicate future amendments. Dr. King states that he experiences this moment of acceptance for himself and "those magnificent devotees of nonviolence who have moved so courageously against the ramparts of racial injustice."
John A. McDermott, Executive Director of the Catholic Interracial Council, lauds Dr. King's receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize and announces that the Council is awarding King its John F. Kennedy Award.
The Office of Kenya National Celebrations congratulates Dr. King on receiving the Nobel Peace Prize. In addition, the author encloses an invitation card in hopes that the Reverend may attend their Anniversary and Republic Day Celebrations.
Joan Daves, Dr. King's literary agent, suggests a discussion concerning future writing plans. She mentions the possibility of publishing a collection that would include several of Dr. King's speeches and writings, among them the March on Washington address and the Oslo speech.
Tom Offenbburger requests Dr. King's permission to forward this adaptation of his Nobel Prize acceptance speech for publication in the French newspaper, "Ouest France."
Dr. King's secretary sends Dr. Lawrence D. Reddick information regarding the upcoming trip to Oslo, Norway. The trip is associated with Dr. King's acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Fr. Raymond J. Swords, S.J., President of the College of the Holy Cross, writes to Dr. King, expressing how joyous he was to hear that King was selected as the 1964 Nobel Prize Winner.
Bradford Daniel writes on behalf of John Howard Griffin, Associate Editor of Ramparts Magazine, and Father Dominique Pire, a Nobel Peace Prize recipient, to congratulate Dr. King on winning the Nobel Peace Prize. Mr. Daniel also requests help promoting the World Friendship Program of international correspondence.
In 1964, Dr. King became the first African-American to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. At age 35, he was also the youngest recipient of the award to date. Emphasizing a philosophy of nonviolence, Dr. King writes this acceptance speech commemorating the courageous work of the Civil Rights Movement. He highlights the brutality faced throughout the United States and addresses the irony of accepting a peace prize on behalf of a movement that has yet to obtain peace.
Bolennart Andersson, President of the Student Christian Movement in Uppsala, Sweden, sends a congratulatory letter and an invitation to Dr. King to speak to their student union.
Mr. Das informs Dr. King that his book "Why We Can't Wait" has been translated for readers in India and printing is underway. Mr. Das asks Dr. King to send a message to UN Secretary General U Thant, the recent Nehru Peace Prize Award winner.