The Archive

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.

Explore another theme

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.

Letter from Robert J. Beaubien to MLK

Friday, December 18, 1964

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

Letter from Raphael Gould to Dora McDonald Re Thich Nhat Hanh

Friday, January 27, 1967

Raphael Gould, of The Fellowship of Reconciliation, writes to Miss McDonald requesting a letter from Dr. King nominating Thich Nhat Hanh for the Nobel Peace Prize. Mr. Gould calls attention to the approaching deadline and the extensive documentation that must accompany the letter.

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.

Letter from Edna Hedrick to MLK

Sunday, November 8, 1964

Edna Hedrick, writing on behalf of the Ypsilanti, MI, branch of the NAACP, congratulates Dr. King for being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

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 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 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.

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.

Press Statement: MLK Agrees to Moscow Trip Regarding Vietnam

This press release announces that Dr. King has agreed to join with other Nobel Peace laureates for a meeting in Moscow in early October [1967] with the Ambassador of North Vietnam and the Ambassador of the National Liberation Front regarding a possible Vietnam peace settlement. Dr. King will go with Fr. Georges Dominique Pire of Belgium, who won the Peace Prize in 1958. The mission is the result of a private Norwegian initiative with financial backing from the Norwegian government.

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.

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.

Letter from Fr. John McNamara to MLK

Monday, July 26, 1965

Fr. McNamara, Catholic Chaplain at the Louisiana State Prison at Angola, writes Dr. King to extend congratulations on being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Draft of Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech

This document is one draft of Dr. King's Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech. Dr. King applauds the world for recognizing the American Civil Rights Movement and states that this award represents for him a "deepening commitment" to the philosophy of nonviolence.

Richard Millard Congratulates MLK

Wednesday, October 28, 1964

Richard Millard, the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Boston University, congratulates Dr. King for winning the Nobel Peace Prize.

Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech

Thursday, December 10, 1964

This version of Dr. King's Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech is typed in all capitals, probably to make it easier to read from while delivering the speech.

Telegram from Agnes Milthers to MLK

Friday, October 16, 1964

Agnes Milthers, a member of the Danish sections of Women International League for Peace and Freedom, invites Dr. King to speak in Copenhagen, Denmark.

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 Dottie Hughes to Dr. and Mrs. King

Tuesday, October 27, 1964

Mrs. Hughes, a resident of Zambia, congratulates Dr. King on being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. She informs Dr. and Mrs. King that their efforts are being recognized in Africa.

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 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 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.

Norwegian Peace Initiative

Friday, January 6, 1967

Five Norwegians concerned about the Vietnam conflict propose that winners of the Nobel Peace Prize form a negotiating delegation to visit the US and Hanoi governments.

Letter from Mrs. Samuel Turkenkopf to Coretta Scott King

Thursday, October 15, 1964

Overwhelmed by the news of MLK winning the Noble Peace Prize, Mrs. Turkenkopf expresses her congratulations to Mrs. King.

Nobel Prize Atlanta Dinner Address Outline

Wednesday, January 27, 1965

Dr. King outlines his address for the January 27, 1965 recognition dinner honoring him for the Nobel Peace Prize. He intends to speak on topics of racial justice, nonviolence and poverty, while discussing the strides made by the movement and the uphill battles still to be faced. Over 1000 people attended the program, the first integrated dinner in Atlanta's history.

Letter from Roland de Corneille to MLK

Tuesday, November 3, 1964

Rev. Roland de Corneille of the Martin Luther King Fund of Toronto congratulates Dr. King for being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

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

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 Clyde De L. Ryals to MLK

Friday, October 30, 1964

Clyde De L. Ryals shares the perspective of his white counterparts in Georgia in congratulating Dr. King on receiving the Nobel Peace Prize.

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.