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Nobel Peace Prize

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.

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Congratulatory Letter from YWCA to MLK

Tuesday, October 20, 1964

The YWCA congratulates Dr. King for receiving the Nobel Peace Prize.

Letter from Arthur Welch and J.A. Middleton to MLK

Thursday, December 3, 1964

The congregation of Allen Temple A.M.E. Church in Atlanta writes Dr. King to congratulate him for receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.

Brotherhood Cannot Be a Theory

Friday, February 19, 1965

This newspaper clipping of The Southern Israelite features segments on the Atlanta banquet honoring Dr. King's acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize. Given on his return to the States, there were twelve hundred and fifty Atlanta citizens in attendance. Included articles are: welcoming comments by Rabbi Jacob Rothschild, a tribute by Archbishop Paul Hallinan, and a transcription of Dr. King's speech.

Letter from Rabbi A. Aaron Segal to MLK

Tuesday, October 20, 1964

Rabbi A. Aaron Segal of Springfield, Illinois writes Dr. King a poem honoring him for winning the Nobel Peace Prize.

Letter from MLK's Secretary to Ralph and Juanita Abernathy

Wednesday, November 18, 1964

Dr. King's secretary sends Ralph and Juanita Abernathy information regarding the trip to Oslo, Norway for the month of December, 1964.

Letter from Glenn T. Izutsu to MLK

Friday, November 6, 1964

Mr. Izutsu, President of the Associated Students of the University of Hawaii, congratulates Dr. King for winning the Nobel Peace Prize and recalls a visit by Dr. King earlier in the year.

Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech Draft

Thursday, December 10, 1964

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.

Telegram from F. D. Jones to MLK

Thursday, November 19, 1964

Reverend F. D. Jones congratulates Dr. King for being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Letter from Helen Harris to MLK

Wednesday, October 28, 1964

Helen Harris, Chairman of the First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto's Social Action Committee, congratulates Dr. King on receiving the Nobel Peace Prize.

Letter from Joan Daves to MLK

Friday, November 20, 1964

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.

Letter from James H. Meredith to MLK

Saturday, October 17, 1964

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.

Letter from Prafulla Chandra Das to MLK

Monday, February 27, 1967

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.

Letter from Robert J. Beaubien to MLK

Friday, December 18, 1964

Robert Beaubien congratulates Dr. King for receiving the Nobel Peace Prize.

Letter from Lenore Aikens to MLK

Thursday, December 31, 1964

Lenore Aikens congratulates Dr. King for being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. She also asks how the Christian Citizenship Committee of United Church Women can be a part of the cause.

MLK Press Statement After Receiving Nobel Prize

Thursday, December 17, 1964

Dr. King issued this statement to the press upon return from receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in Norway. In addition to declaring how he plans to distribute his prize winnings, Dr. King discusses the progress of the Civil Rights Movement.

New York Mayor Wagner Remarks at Reception

Thursday, December 17, 1964

New York Mayor Robert F. Wagner honors Dr. King at a reception following a ceremony where he was presented the Medallion of Honor of the City of New York after receiving the Nobel Peace Prize. The Mayor especially commends Dr. King for his courageous leadership in nonviolence and the spirit of love, goodwill, and peacemaking that he brings to the struggle for racial justice.

Letter from Florence Read to MLK

Wednesday, May 5, 1965

Florence Read informs Dr. King that she received news of his Nobel Peace Prize while traveling in the Middle East. She encloses articles from The Jerusalem Times and The Daily Star of Beirut for Dr. King's records.

Letter from David H. McKillop to MLK

Thursday, November 12, 1964

David McKillop informs Dr. King that the United States Consulate General in Barcelona received a letter from five Spanish citizens congratulating him for winning the Nobel Peace Prize.

Letter from MLK to the Nobel Institute

Wednesday, January 25, 1967

Dr. King nominates Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist monk from Vietnam, for the Nobel Peace Prize. He describes Hanh's accomplishments and assures that he is "an apostle of peace and non-violence.

Letter from Virginia Madden to Mrs. King

Sunday, October 25, 1964

Virginia Madden, a 91-year-old white woman from Philadelphia, writes to congratulate Mrs. King on Dr. King's winning the Nobel Peace Prize. She says she has deplored racism and welcomes the new Civil Rights Law.

Letter from Simon Oberg to MLK

Friday, October 16, 1964

Simon Oberg invites Dr. King to come to Sweden during his trip to Europe for the Nobel Peace Prize Reception.

Letter from Mrs. Phyllis Nissel to MLK

Phyllis Nissel congratulates Dr. King for receiving the Nobel Peace Prize. She remembers hearing his speech at the March on Washington and appreciates Dr. King's ability to represent the voices of so many.

Letter from Clarence D. Coleman to MLK

Wednesday, November 11, 1964

Director of the Southern Region of the National Urban League, Clarence D. Coleman, congratulates Dr. King for receiving the 1964 Nobel Piece Prize. Coleman extends his very best wishes to Dr. King and the SCLC on behalf of the staff of the Southern Regional Office of the National Urban League and the officers and members of the Atlanta Summit Leadership Conference.

The Nobel Couple

Thursday, December 10, 1964

The cover photo of the December 1964 issue of The American Chronicle captures Dr. and Mrs. King after they discover he was named the winner of the year's Nobel Peace Prize.

Telegram from Konrad Bloch to MLK

Thursday, October 15, 1964

Konrad Bloch congratulates Dr. King and says he will see him in Stockholm.

Letter from Herbert G. Cave to MLK

Tuesday, January 5, 1965

Director Dr. Herbert G. Cave represents the Department of Anesthesiology at the Harlem Hospital Center in congratulating Dr. King for receiving the Nobel Peace Prize. Seven years earlier, in 1958, Dr. King had been a surgical patient of the hospital due to being stabbed with a letter opener while on a book tour.

Note from Harry Belafonte to MLK

Harry and Julie Belafonte congratulate Dr. King on receiving the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize. Harry Belafonte is an American entertainer and social activist.

Letter from Howard Moore Jr. to MLK

Tuesday, November 3, 1964

Mr. Moore, of the Atlanta law firm Hollowell, Ward, Moore & Alexander, congratulates Dr. King on receiving of the Nobel Peace Prize. He goes on to encourage Dr. King and the SCLC to "establish a full fledge non-sectarian four year college and graduate school."

Letter from Joseph W. Williams to MLK

Wednesday, November 4, 1964

Joseph W. Williams congratulates Dr. King on being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Letter from MLK's Secretary to Wyatt Tee Walker

Friday, November 20, 1964

Dr. King's secretary sends Wyatt Tee Walker information regarding the upcoming trip to Oslo, Norway.