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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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The Nobel Couple

Thursday, December 10, 1964
Oslo, Norway, NORWAY

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.

Brotherhood Cannot Be a Theory

Friday, February 19, 1965
Chicago, IL, Los Angeles, CA

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 Robert J. Beaubien to MLK

Friday, December 18, 1964
New York, NY, New York (NY)

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

Letter from Peggy Duff to MLK

Thursday, May 4, 1967
DENMARK, Stockholm, Sweden, VIETNAM

Peggy Duff invites Dr. King to speak in Copenhagen on behalf of the Danish Peace Movement.

Nobel Peace Prize Lecture

Friday, December 11, 1964
Oslo, Norway, New York, NY, New York (NY), London, England, Atlanta, GA, Georgia (GA)

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 Dottie Hughes to Dr. and Mrs. King

Tuesday, October 27, 1964
ZAMBIA

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.

Telegram from F. M. Horton to MLK

Washington, D.C., Atlanta, GA, Oslo, Norway, SWITZERLAND

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

Grand Hotel Reservation for MLK

Wednesday, November 4, 1964
Oslo, Norway

This reservation request was sent to Grand Hotel to establish accommodations for Dr. King and his associates during the Nobel Peace Prize ceremonies. One of the drafts of Dr. King's Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech was scripted on Grand Hotel stationary.

Statement Adapted from MLK Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech

Sunday, July 30, 1967
FRANCE, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, EGYPT

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."

Dorothy Cotton telegraphs congratulations

Sunday, January 31, 1965
Atlanta, GA, Georgia (GA), New York (NY), New York, NY

Dorothy Cotton, long-time colleague of Dr. King at Southern Christian Leadership Conference, congratulates Dr. King for being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Cotton was one of the only non-family members to subsequently accompany Dr. King to Oslo, Norway, for the prize ceremony.

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.

Letter from Bruce A. King to MLK

Wednesday, October 28, 1964
AUSTRALIA, Washington, D.C.

Bruce King, Secretary of the Baptist Union of New South Wales, congratulates Dr. King for winning the Nobel Peace Prize.

Letter from Frederick B. Hewitt to MLK

Wednesday, October 14, 1964
CANADA, Atlanta, GA

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.

Norwegian Peace Initiative

Friday, January 6, 1967
Oslo, Norway, NORWAY, VIETNAM, Washington, D.C.

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.

MLK Press Statement After Receiving Nobel Prize

Thursday, December 17, 1964
Oslo, Norway, London, England, Stockholm, Sweden, FRANCE, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Mississippi (MS), Florida (FL)

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 Erskine Caldwell to MLK

Wednesday, November 11, 1964
California (CA)

Noted author Erskine Caldwell congratulates Dr. King for receiving the Nobel Peace Prize. Caldwell's works, including the highly acclaimed book Tobacco Road, addressed poverty, racism and social problems in his native South.

Letter from Nils K. Stahle to MLK

Friday, November 27, 1964
SWEDEN, Stockholm, Sweden, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Georgia (GA), Atlanta, GA

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.

Community Salute to MLK Nobel Peace Prize Winner

Thursday, December 17, 1964
New York (NY), New York, NY

This program outlines an event to celebrate Dr. King's receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize. The event takes place in New York City on December 17, 1964.

Tampa Tribune: MLK – A Religious Prophet

Saturday, November 7, 1964
Florida (FL)

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 MLK's Secretary to Ralph and Juanita Abernathy

Wednesday, November 18, 1964
NORWAY, Oslo, Norway, Georgia (GA), Atlanta, GA

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

Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech Draft

Thursday, December 10, 1964
Philadelphia, MS, Montgomery, AL, Oslo, Norway, Mississippi (MS), UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Alabama (AL)

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 Rev. S. A. Owen to MLK

Friday, November 13, 1964

In this letter, Reverend S. A. Owen of the Tennessee Baptist M. & E. Convention congratulates Dr. King on receiving the Nobel Peace Prize.

Letter from the Algemeen Handelsblad to MLK

Thursday, October 22, 1964
NETHERLANDS, Oslo, Norway, Birmingham, AL, NORWAY, Alabama (AL)

C. A. Steketee, chief editor of Dutch newspaper Algemeen Handelsblad, asks Dr. King to write an article about the American Civil Rights Movement.

Letter from Dr. Herman Klugman

Thursday, October 15, 1964
Massachusetts (MA), Boston, MA, Montgomery, AL, Alabama (AL)

Dr. Herman Klugman, Dr. King's German-language tutor at Boston University, offers his congratulations on the coveted Nobel Peace Prize. He states that, as a Jew whose people experienced Nazi persecution, he has watched the "Gleichberechtigung" (equal rights) struggle with deep emotion.

Letter from Prafulla Chandra Das to MLK

Monday, February 27, 1967
INDIA, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

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.

Note from Harry Belafonte to MLK

New York, NY

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 Simon Oberg to MLK

Friday, October 16, 1964
Stockholm, Sweden, Oslo, Norway

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

Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech Draft

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, SWEDEN

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."

City's Leaders Plan Dinner for MLK

Wednesday, January 6, 1965
Atlanta, GA

This article announces a banquet to be held to honor Dr. King for his Nobel Peace Prize award. The banquet is hosted by various leaders in the City of Atlanta.

Letter from George D. Kelsey to MLK

Saturday, October 31, 1964
New Jersey (NJ), SWEDEN

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.