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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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Proposed Nobel Speech

This is a draft for an optional version of Dr. King's Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech. He notes the importance of viewing the world as a family and with such perception, understands race issues as an international concern. King also speaks of Sir Alfred Bernhard Nobel, the originator of the Nobel Peace Prize. He accepts the award on behalf of those who came before him and those who continue to fight for freedom.

Telegram from Sen. Edward Kennedy to MLK

Saturday, October 17, 1964

Senator and Mrs. Edward M. Kennedy congratulate Dr. King on receiving the Nobel Peace Prize.

Statement from MLK Returning from Receiving Nobel Prize

Friday, December 18, 1964

Upon returning from receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, Dr. King issued this statement on segregation, calling it "nothing but a new form of slavery."

Letter from the Student Christian Movement in Uppsala, Sweden

Wednesday, October 28, 1964

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.

Letter from Yousuf Karsh to MLK

Wednesday, October 21, 1964

Yousuf Karsh congratulates Dr. King on receiving the Nobel Peace Prize Award. In addition, Mr. Karsh informs Dr. King that his wife attended Antioch College at the same time as Mrs. King.

Nobel Lecture by MLK

Friday, December 11, 1964

This is a copy of the Lecture given by Dr. King in Oslo, Norway upon his winning the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize. He thanks the Norwegian Parliament for honoring him with this award. He speaks of the evils of racially injustice and the belief that "oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever." He speaks of the need to peacefully come together in harmony as humanity because a peaceful world cannot be built based on a "negative path."

Nobel Peace Prize Lecture

Friday, December 11, 1964

On December 11, 1964, Dr. King delivered his Nobel lecture at the University of Oslo. Aware of the prestigious nature of the award and the global recognition for the nonviolent struggle to eradicate racial injustice in the U.S., King worked nearly a month on this address. He went far beyond his dream for America and articulated his vision of a World House in which a family of different races, religions, ideas, cultures and interests must learn to live together as brothers and sisters or perish together as fools. For citations, go to Dr. King's lecture at nobleprize.org.

Letter from Sam Massell Jr. to MLK

Thursday, November 19, 1964

Sam Massell Jr., President of the City of Atlanta Board of Aldermen, congratulates Dr. King on receiving the Nobel Peace Prize.

MLK Accepts Nobel Peace Prize

Thursday, December 10, 1964

In his acceptance speech at the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony in Oslo, Norway, Dr. King dedicates his award to the nonviolent struggle necessary for overcoming the oppression and violence afflicting American Negroes.

Nobel Foundation Code of Statutes

Friday, June 29, 1900

This 1900 document sets forth the purpose of the Nobel Foundation as worded in the will of Dr. Alfred Bernhard Nobel. According to these statutes, the Peace Award is for the person who has "best promoted the Fraternity of Nations and the Abolishment or Diminution of Standing Armies and the Formation and Increase of Peace-Congresses."

Letter from Bruce A. King to MLK

Wednesday, October 28, 1964

Bruce King, Secretary of the Baptist Union of New South Wales, congratulates Dr. King 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 to MLK from Immaculate Heart College

Saturday, October 31, 1964

Sister Mary Williams, President of the Immaculate Heart College, congratulates Dr. King on behalf of her faculty and students on his selection to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

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.

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.

Letter from Joseph W. Williams to MLK

Wednesday, November 4, 1964

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

MLK Norway Radio Interview

Monday, November 9, 1964

Dr. King addresses the importance of the Chicago Adult Education Project and the impact it would have on the Lawndale community. Issues of discrimination, segregation, racism, and oppression have lead to constant riots and violence in this densely populated area. Dr. King submits the idea that, to cure the issue of the "ghetto", Americans and the government must work to eradicate the causes by offering better education, better housing, and fair wages instead of "anti-riot" legislation.

Letter from G. Campbell-Westlind to MLK

Wednesday, July 21, 1965

G. Campbell-Westlind, Acting Consul General of the Royal Consulate General of Sweden, informs Dr. King that Simon & Schuster has asked the Nobel Foundation in Stockholm for permission to print his Nobel Award Acceptance Speech. The letter requests Dr. King's comments on the proposal.

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 George D. Kelsey to MLK

Saturday, October 31, 1964

Dr. and Mrs. Kelsey applaud Dr. King on his nomination and receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize. Kelsey was Professor of Christian Ethics at Drew University.

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 Rev. Camilo A. Boasso to MLK

Wednesday, December 30, 1964

In this document, a Catholic priest from Argentina writes to Dr. King and congratulates him for receiving the Nobel Peace Prize. The priest also inquires about obtaining permission to translate into Spanish Dr. King's recent book "Why We Cant Wait." Requests like this increased significantly as Dr. King's prominence grew.

Letter from Nils K. Stahle to MLK

Friday, November 27, 1964

Nils K. Stahle, Executive Director of the Nobel Foundation, invites Dr. King to visit the Nobel House in Stockholm while he is Sweden for a special ecumenical service.

Letter from Stanley Becker to MLK

Wednesday, November 4, 1964

Stanley Becker, the principal at the Amsterdam School in New York, congratulates Dr. King for being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Letter from Frederick B. Hewitt to MLK

Wednesday, October 14, 1964

Rev. Hewitt, pastor of the Grace United Church in Gananoque, Ontario, congratulates Dr. King on being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He also extends an invitation to Dr. King to vacation with his family at Half Moon Bay.

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 MLK to Fredrik Schjander

Wednesday, October 6, 1965

Dr. King responds to a survey of five questions from Fredrik Schjander regarding the world's chances for peace. Dr. King believes the prospects for world peace have actually declined since he received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, due to conflicts in areas such as Kashmir and Vietnam. Dr. King does write that the growing role of the United Nations as a global mediator is an encouraging sign.

Telegram from Curtis Harris to Coretta Scott King

Thursday, October 15, 1964

Mr. Harris, President of Virginia's SCLC chapter, congratulates Mrs. King on Dr. King's winning the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize.

Statement Adapted from MLK Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech

Sunday, July 30, 1967

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."

Letter from Charles Merrill to MLK

Thursday, September 28, 1967

Mr. Charles Merrill, Headmaster of the Commonwealth School in Boston, MA, requests that Dr. King support Mr. Danilo Dolci's candidacy for the Nobel Peace Prize that year