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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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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.

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.

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 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.

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 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.

Telegram from F. M. Horton to MLK

F. M. Horton relays Norwegian ambassador True Davis' congratulations to Dr. King on receiving the Nobel Peace Prize.

Letter from Jack Greenberg to MLK

Thursday, November 5, 1964

Jack Greenberg congratulates Dr. King for being awarded 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.

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 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.

SCLC Virginia Program with MLK

Friday, July 2, 1965

This is the program for SCLC's Virginia State Unit's observance of Nobel Peace Prize Day at Virginia State College, with Dr. King as guest speaker.

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 Nils K. Stahle to Joan Daves

Wednesday, December 2, 1964

The Director of the Nobel Foundation, Niles K. Stahle, explains the copyright of Dr. King's Nobel Lecture. Stahle states that the Lecture belongs to the Nobel Foundation and that measures will be taken to preserve its integrity.

Letter from Alfred K. Barr to MLK

Tuesday, February 22, 1966

Alfred Barr, of the Cosmopolitan Club of the University of Georgia Athens, invites Dr. King to speak at their campus, citing the fact that Dr. King was the only Nobel Prize winner from Georgia.

Letter from The Very Rev. Raymond J. Swords to MLK

Friday, October 30, 1964

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.

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.

Tampa Tribune: MLK – A Religious Prophet

Saturday, November 7, 1964

In a letter to the editor, Rev. Gordon Christensen responds to The Tribune’s editorial “Peace Prize Puzzle,” saying the problem can be solved from both the secular and religious perspectives. King’s nonviolent resistance to segregation supports national law as laid out in the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and Supreme Court decisions. The effort to gain freedom for Negroes through nonviolence offers the world an alternative to Communism as a means of ending colonialism.

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.

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 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.

Atlanta Dinner Honoring MLK Nobel Peace Prize

Wednesday, January 27, 1965

The Citizens of Atlanta host a "recognition dinner" honoring Dr. King as the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize recipient. This document is an autographed copy of the dinner program.

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.

Letter from MLK's Secretary to Dr. Lawrence D. Reddick

Wednesday, November 18, 1964

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.

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 MLK to Adhemar de Barros

Thursday, February 25, 1965

Dr. King declines Governor Adhemar de Barros' invitation to attend the conference for recognition of Dr. King's receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize. Dr. King's work on the Right-to-Vote Campaign in the State of Alabama has monopolized his time for several months.

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.

Letter from Rabbi Byron T. Rubenstein to MLK

Wednesday, November 4, 1964

Rabbi Rubenstein writes to congratulate MLK on the Nobel Peace Prize and recounts his experience while working with the SCLC in St. Augustine, Florida.

Letter from MLK's Secretary to Rev. and Mrs. Martin Luther King, Sr.

Wednesday, November 18, 1964

Dr. King's secretary sends information to Dr. King's parents regarding their upcoming trip to Oslo, Norway.

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.