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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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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 Clark Foreman to MLK

Wednesday, October 21, 1964

Clark Foreman, Director of the Emergency Civil Liberties Committee, congratulates Dr. King on winning the Nobel Peace Prize. Mr. Foreman also asks Dr. King to send a message of congratulations to Dr. James A. Dombrowski, who will receive the Tom Paine Award at the 1964 Bill of Rights Dinner. Dombrowski, a Methodist minister, was co-founder of the Highlander Folk School in Tennessee.

Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech Draft

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."

Letter from Rev. J. Edward Lantz to MLK

Wednesday, November 4, 1964

Rev. Lantz, Executive Director of the Southern Office of the National Council of the Churches of Christ, congratulates Dr. King for being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Letter from Dr. Alvaro Palmeira to MLK

Monday, November 16, 1964

Dr. Palmeira, Grand Master of the Grande Orient of Brazil, offers his congratulations to Dr. King for receiving the Nobel Peace Prize.

Statement on Nobel and Catholic Interracial Council Awards

Saturday, October 17, 1964

John A. McDermott, Executive Director of the Catholic Interracial Council, lauds Dr. King's receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize and announces that the Council is awarding King its John F. Kennedy Award.

Letter from A. K. Magugu to MLK

Tuesday, November 3, 1964

The Office of Kenya National Celebrations congratulates Dr. King on receiving the Nobel Peace Prize. In addition, the author encloses an invitation card in hopes that the Reverend may attend their Anniversary and Republic Day Celebrations.

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.

Telegram from Dr. and Mrs. Jones to MLK

Wednesday, January 27, 1965

Dr. and Mrs. Jones congratulate Dr. King on winning the Nobel Peace Prize. They send their regrets for not being able to attend the dinner to honor Dr. King's accomplishment.

Letter from Shelia Mills to MLK

Sunday, December 13, 1964

Shelia Mills, a 7th grade student, commends Dr. King for his efforts within the nonviolence movement and for 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 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.

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 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 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 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 Bradford Daniel to MLK

Friday, November 13, 1964

Bradford Daniel writes on behalf of John Howard Griffin, Associate Editor of Ramparts Magazine, and Father Dominique Pire, a Nobel Peace Prize recipient, to congratulate Dr. King on winning the Nobel Peace Prize. Mr. Daniel also requests help promoting the World Friendship Program of international correspondence.

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.

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 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 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 Vera M. Jones to MLK

Wednesday, November 11, 1964

Inspired by an article in the Saturday Evening Post, Vera Jones congratulates Dr. King on being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

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.

Thoughts on Nobel Prize

This draft of Dr. King's Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech lends recognition to the nonviolent practices of those engaged in the fight for equality and civil rights.

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 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 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

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.

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 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.