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Notecard on Philosophy

On this notecard, Dr. King outlines Herbert Spencer's views on philosophy. This is an example of one of the many notecards Dr. King kept in a cardboard filing box for reference to quotations, ideas, books and other publications, definitions, and bible verses.

Ralph Bunch Cooke's High School Report Card

Tuesday, February 28, 1967
Kentucky (KY)

This document is Ralph Bunch Cooke's report card reflecting his four years as a student at North Warren High School in Smiths Grove, Kentucky.

Letter from MLK to Clarence E. Pickett

Monday, October 14, 1963
Pennsylvania (PA), Philadelphia, PA

Dr. King regretfully informs Mr. Pickett of American Friends Service Committee, he has accepted the maximum number of speaking engagements allowable for the next year or longer.

Letter from Edward Thacker to MLK

Tuesday, December 5, 1967
Arkansas (AR), Hot Springs, AR, Georgia (GA), Atlanta, GA, VIETNAM

Edward Thacker, former State Commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars for Arkansas, expresses his disagreement with Dr. King's views on the Vietnam War. Thacker also contends that the eradication of poverty is an unrealistic goal.

Letter from Smithsonian Institution to MLK

Friday, April 2, 1965
Washington, D.C.

S. Dillon Ripley, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, invites Dr. King to attend the bicentennial birthday celebration of the organization's founder, James Smithson.

Executive Orders

Dr. King drafts numerous directives pertaining to the 1964 expenses of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.


Dr. King cites passages from Leviticus that suggest that the smell of sacrifice is pleasing to God.

Letter from Artist Sidney Gordon Budnick to MLK

Friday, August 26, 1966
California (CA), Montgomery, AL, Alabama (AL)

Sidney Gordon Budnick, architect and artist, gifts Dr. King with a piece of art work and applauds Dr. King's "efforts to bring to life the brotherhood of God and of man."

Letter from MLK to Robert Wagner

Tuesday, March 3, 1964
New York, NY

Dr. King sends condolences to Mayor Robert Wagner consequent to his wife's death.

Letter from Wesley Hotchkiss to Associates of the Citizen Education Project

Wednesday, September 7, 1966
Atlanta, GA, New York, NY

Mr. Hotchkiss, the General Secretary of the AMA and primary UCBHM representative for the CEP, writes employees to clear up confusion regarding the administrative structure of the CEP. He informs employees that the the CEP is administered by the UCBHM stating, "When staff are confused about their employer it usually means they are confused about their objectives." The organization's most important objective, Mr. Hotchkiss asserts, is to mobilize individuals who have been trained under the CEP to focus the skills they have acquired on community development.

CORE List of Cities Where Lunch Counters Have Opened Since February 1st, 1960

Monday, February 20, 1961
Arkansas (AR), Florida (FL), Kentucky (KY), West Virginia (WV), Oklahoma (OK), North Carolina (NC), Missouri (MO), Tennessee (TN), Virginia (VA), Texas (TX), Maryland (MD)

This document is a list of locations where lunch counter sit-ins have occurred, provided by the Congress of Racial Equality


Dr. King quotes a statement from Joseph Klausner's book "From Jesus to Paul" regarding Judaism. Joseph Klausner was a Jewish historian.

Letter to MLK Regarding Nobel Peace Prize

Thursday, October 15, 1964
Oslo, Norway, Stockholm, Sweden

Dr. King receives a letter confirming the telephone call that informed him that he won the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize. The author then invites Dr. King to come to Oslo to receive the prize.

The Drum Major Instinct Sermon Outline

Monday, February 5, 1968

Dr. King outlines on scraps of paper his great sermon based on Mark 10:37. Everyone wants to be first, to get attention, he says, starting with our first cry as a baby. Adults want to do good and be praised. If the drum major instinct is not harnessed, the personality is distorted and we become boastful, gossip, put others down. On a societal level, this leads to exclusive social groups, racial prejudice and war. King states that Jesus’ answer is to dedicate this great force to worthy ends – goodness, moral excellence, generosity, kindness and service. .

Letter from Dora McDonald to Altina Carey

Monday, January 8, 1962
California (CA)

Dora McDonald informs Altina Carey that she discussed his letter with Dr. King over the telephone and he looks forward to hearing from Mr. Carey after his meeting with Mr. Killens.

The Boycott Explained

Saturday, April 10, 1965
Alabama (AL)

Dr. King writes this article in the form of questions and answers to explain the purpose and impact of an upcoming boycott in Alabama.


Dr. King quotes Ernest J. Chave's "A Functional Approach to Religious Education."

Letter from Don Blaine to MLK

Thursday, August 26, 1965
Kansas (KS), Atlanta, GA

Don Blaine seeks advice from Dr. King concerning the idea of organizing a peace caravan that would travel throughout the United States. Blaine views this suggestion as a way to garner international support for peace.


Dr. King interprets Jeremiah 51:17 to mean that man compared to God is stupid and man's knowledge compared to God's infinite knowledge is nothing.

Letter from Dora McDonald to Rev. William Lawson

Wednesday, May 6, 1964
Texas (TX)

Dora McDonald writes in response to a request from Reverend William Lawson of Texas Southern University. McDonald encloses a biographical sketch and photograph of Dr. King, then relays a message from the Reverend to exclude a reception for him on May 17.

Letter from Dora McDonald to Elizabeth Babcock

Tuesday, February 2, 1965
New York (NY), Selma, AL, Alabama (AL)

Dora McDonald informs Mrs. Babcock that she received the contribution for the SCLC on behalf of Dr. King. Miss McDonald tells Mrs. Babcock that Dr. King is imprisoned in Selma, Alabama and that he will respond upon his release.

Letter to Men of Morehouse from Morehouse President Benjamin E. Mays

Morehouse President Benjamin E. Mays discusses the events during Centennial Founders Week at Morehouse College for those who were not in attendance. He also informs the Men of Morehouse of the upcoming commencement ceremony.

Original Sin

From "The Epistle of the Romans," Dr. King records Karl Barth's observations regarding original sin, which are compared to views of the Bible, Saint Augustine and the Reformers.

SCLC President's Report - MLK

Wednesday, August 10, 1966
Jackson, MS, Alabama (AL), Mississippi (MS), Birmingham, AL, Selma, AL, Chicago, IL, South Carolina (SC), Florida (FL), Illinois (IL), Kentucky (KY), Tennessee (TN), Oregon (OR), Washington (WA), Texas (TX)

Delivered at the Tenth Annual Convention of the SCLC, Dr. King presents the annual report for the organization. King addresses several elements of the Civil Rights Movement as he discusses the successes, plans, goals, and vision of the SCLC in relation to the wider movement it represents.

Letter from Marcellus Biot to Coretta Scott King offering Condolences

Monday, April 8, 1968
Los Angeles, CA

Mr. Biot of Los Angeles, CA offers sympathies to Mrs. King behalf of himself and Mother Green.

Convocation on Equal Justice Under the Law

Thursday, May 28, 1964
New York (NY), New York, NY, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Alabama (AL), Georgia (GA), Albany, GA, Virginia (VA), Mississippi (MS), Jackson, MS, Birmingham, AL, INDIA, INDONESIA, GHANA, BRAZIL

This is a transcript of remarks made by Dr. King at the Convocation on Equal Justice Under Law, sponsored by the NAACP Legal Defense Fund on May 28, 1964.

The Poor People's Campaign Informational Flyer

Tuesday, March 5, 1968
Washington, D.C., New York (NY), New York, NY, Brooklyn, NY

The Southern Christian Leadership Conference circulates an informational flyer for The Poor Peoples Campaign held in Washington, D.C. This demonstration is to highlight the grave problems of the poor and is a call to the government to address the needs of the poor.

Anonymous Adverse Letter to MLK

Chicago, IL, Illinois (IL)

The author of this letter sends Dr. King a strong message to leave Chicago. According to the sender, Dr. King does nothing but "cause trouble from one place to another."

Letter from David L. Clark and Charles E. Young to MLK

Tuesday, March 23, 1965
Los Angeles, CA, Selma, AL

David Clark and Charles E. Young of the University of California Los Angeles write to Dr. King to ask him to speak to the UCLA student body. They express that their students are very interested in the Civil Rights Movement and have planned an entire "Selma Week" to correspond with his speech and raise money for the Selma Movement.

Letter from MLK to High School Students

Dr. King writes some high school students to inform them of his inability to attend their graduation. He also offers some words of encouragement.