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"Poor People's Campaign"

Irene Dunaway Requests Sermon from SCLC

Thursday, April 6, 1967

Irene V. Dunaway of Daly City, California writes the members of SCLC requesting a copy of Dr. King's recent address on the ABC network. She admires the sermon as "one of the greats," and would also like to "brush up" on her knowledge of history pertaining to Vietnam.

Letter from Hosea Williams to MLK

Wednesday, December 13, 1967

Hosea Williams submits his resignation as a staff member of the SCLC. He also requests a meeting with the Steering Committee and Dr. King to discuss unfinished items related to the SCLC.

Letter from Amelia P. Boynton to the SCLC

Wednesday, June 2, 1965

Amelia Boynton writes the members of the SCLC seeking financial assistance to help purchase a particular piece of land to help start a new sewing machine factory and other projects in Selma, Alabama. Boynton provides details of the history of the struggle of people of color in Selma, and stresses that the land would be used to help teach the underprivileged in the area to help themselves.


Dr. King quotes William Ernest Hocking's "The Meaning of God in Human Experience."

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 S. I. Hayakawa to MLK

Friday, July 26, 1963

S.I. Hayakawa inquires about a previous contribution to the SCLC and asks if it is tax deductible.


Dr. King quotes a modern historian on their ideas of totalitarianism.

Letter to Mr. Otwell from Dr. King Regarding the Request for an Article for the Chicago Sun-Times

Monday, March 30, 1964

Dr. King informs Mr. Otwell that, due to prior obligations, he will not be able to write the article for the Sunday edition as requested. However, he assures Mr. Otwell that he will look into the possibility of editing a section of "Why We Can't Wait" to be published instead.

Copyright Agreement for MLK’s Nobel Lecture

This is the Copyright Assignment Agreement established between Dr. King and the Nobel Foundation.

Letter from Dana McLean Greeley to MLK

Monday, April 4, 1966

Dana McLean Greeley, President of the Unitarian Universalist Association, asks Dr. King to lend his name to a letter addressed to President Lyndon Johnson. The letter, which was drafted at the request of the Inter-Religious Peace Conference, requests an interview with President Johnson. Dr. King's handwriting appears on the top right of this letter, saying that he would be happy to allow them to use his name in this context.


Dr. King defines the doctrine monarchianism as "a doctrine stressing the unity of the Godhead as against the ultimately prevailing tendency to affirm personal distinctions within the Godhead."

Letter from John W. Wydler to MLK

Tuesday, January 5, 1965

Congressman Wydler of New York responds to Dr. King's letter on the seating of the Mississippi delegation to Congress. Dr. King's letter, sent to several government officials prior to the vote, urges House Representatives to vote against the seating of the current delegation.


Dr. King records a definition of materialism.

103:24 General Correspondence 1967 (S)

Monday, May 1, 1967

Addressed to Sigrid L. Sharp, this receipt is forwarded to Minneapolis, MN for a donation of $3.00 to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Dr. King's Revealing Report On 'Summer of Discontent'

Dr. King's responses to the events in Birmingham, Alabama during the summer of 1963 are reported in this Chicago Sun-Times article.


Dr. King writes about Celsus, a second century Greek philosopher who opposed Christianity.

Letter from Eugene Exman to MLK

Wednesday, November 15, 1961

Mr. Eugene Exman's, expresses disappointment in Dr. King for not having received his manuscript for a forthcoming book of sermons, and urges him to expedite the manuscript.

Letter from J. S. Beckington to MLK

Friday, June 10, 1966

J. S. Beckington, Secretary Treasurer at the Groton School in Massachusetts, encloses a financial contribution to the SCLC.

Letter from Rev. Samuel B. McKinney to MLK Regarding Travel Arrangements to Seattle

Monday, November 6, 1961

In this letter, Rev. McKinney reviews details regarding Dr. King's itinerary for his visit to Seattle. He mentions that the community has worked exceedingly hard to gain city-wide support for his first visit to the Pacific Northwest.

Telegram from MLK to Rev. Jesse Jackson

Dr. King writes to Rev. Jesse Jackson, urgently requesting his presence at a meeting of the Action Committee for Washington.

Handwritten Notes on Science and Religion

On this notecard, Dr. King outlines Brightman's views on Science and Religion.


Dr. King quotes Borden Parker Bowne. The first name Gordon on the note card is incorrect.

Letter from Mrs. G. E. Coleman to MLK

Wednesday, June 23, 1965

Dr. King writes Mrs. G. Coleman to acknowledge the receipt of her letter inviting him to speak at a Freedom Rally in Beckley, West Virginia. Dr. King expresses his deep regret in his inability to attend.


Dr. King references the Old Testament biblical Book of Isaiah regarding topics like ritual sacrifice, knowledge, social ethics, and the doctrine of man.

Letter from Ernest Shaefer to Dora McDonald

Sunday, November 6, 1966

Mr. Shaefer, Executive Secretary of the Hadley Executive Committee, requests information from Ms. McDonald regarding Dr. King's scheduled lecture in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.

Sermon on Conformity Thought "Nonconformist - J. Bond"

Sunday, January 16, 1966

Dr. King in this sermon at Ebenezer Baptist Church speaks to his congregation on the topic of disent. He expresses in detail about how we essentially must not conform to standards set by society.

Letter from Cummins E. Speakman to MLK

Tuesday, August 1, 1967

Dr. Speakman requests that Dr. King recommends the Maunaolu College of Maui to any individuals interested in coming to Hawaii.


Dr. King highlights a definition of sin according to Reinhold Niebuhr.

Letter from Curtis Harris to MLK

Monday, February 1, 1965

Curtis W. Harris, of the Virginia State Unit of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, wrote to Dr. King to alert him that the Smithfield Packing Company has a labor situation very similar to that of Scripto in Atlanta. Harris explains that none of the senior Negro employees are in the appropriate income bracket and could use Dr. King's assistance.

Notecard Regarding Freedom

On this notecard, Dr. King outlines his insights on the concept of freedom.