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Social Justice

Dr. King notes that Isaiah 1:11-17 describes various forms of worship and declares that God will not hear them but demands righteousness and fulfillment of social obligations. He compares this passage with the prophet Amos.


Dr. King records Friedrich Schleiermacher's views on religion, sin and redemption.

Letter from Ernest Shaefer to Dora McDonald

Sunday, November 6, 1966
Pennsylvania (PA), Georgia (GA), Atlanta, GA

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

Letter from Robert V. Doehne to MLK

Saturday, June 11, 1966
New Jersey (NJ), New York, NY, Pennsylvania (PA)

Robert V. Doehne informs Dr. King of the great debates held by the Interfraternity Council of Lehigh University. William Buckley Jr. and Norman Thomas served as two controversial contestants in a past debate that received media coverage. Mr. Doehne requests Dr. King visit the campus and engage in the debate of this year.

Letter from W. Maxfield Garrott

Friday, October 16, 1964
Tennessee (TN), JAPAN, Virginia (VA), Atlanta, GA, Richmond, VA

W. Maxfield Garrott, president of the Seinen Jo Gakuin Baptist School in Japan, invites Dr. King to make an appearance if he ever visits Japan. Garrot also congratulates Dr. King on being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Letter from MLK to Miss Read

In this handwritten draft letter, Dr. King expresses his appreciation for Miss Read's "interest in and support of our work and the American Negroes [sic] struggle for freedom and dignity."

Letter from MLK to David J. Walker

Wednesday, January 13, 1965

Dr. King declines an invitation from the Junior Board of Trade to speak in Toronto.

Letter from Leroy Johnson to MLK

Atlanta, GA

State Senator Leroy R. Johnson forwards a Senate Pass to Dr. King, and informs him of an open invitation to visit the Senate at his leisure.

Letter from Maude L. Ballou to Mrs. King about MLK Schedule

Monday, September 22, 1958
Montgomery, AL

The secretary of Dr. King's first pastorate, Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, sent this correspondence to Mrs. Coretta Scott King. The letter addresses Dr. King's itinerary, upon his return to Montgomery, and hopes for his full recovery, following his 1958 stabbing in Harlem.

Letter from Clarence H. Haines to MLK

Wednesday, August 3, 1966
Massachusetts (MA), GERMANY

Clarence Haines encloses a donation and comments on economic power. Haines suggests a verbal network between Negros so they can learn which stores are integrated and friendly in order to support those business owners.

Letter from MLK to Reverend Casper I. Glenn

Monday, October 21, 1963
Arizona (AZ), Washington, D.C.

Dr. King writes to Rev. Glenn, President of the NAACP chapter in Tucson, Arizona, regarding Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech. Dr. King informs him that the Motown Record Corporation has been granted rights of this speech.

Letter from Kate Krauthemier to MLK about a St. Louis Appearance

Monday, August 17, 1964
Atlanta, GA, Georgia (GA), Missouri (MO)

In this letter, Kate Krautheimer of the Artists and Speakers Bureau,urgently requests an appearance from Dr. King to St. Louis University.

Letter from Al Shabazz to MLK

Friday, August 25, 1967
New York, NY

Al Shabazz requests Dr. King review his proposal for Black Independence.

Letter form Gloria Kenny to MLK

Saturday, May 13, 1967
New York (NY)

Gloria Kenny praises Dr. King and the SCLC for sending a small group of individuals to the Agape Mass at MaryMount College. She also commends him on his efforts to speak out against the Vietnam War.

MLK Drafted as a Presidential Candidate Announcement

New York (NY), California (CA), Washington (WA)

The Peoples Committee of America drafts Dr. King as their candidate for the 1968 Presidential Election.

Aristotle in Thomas

Dr. King outlines aspects of St. Thomas Aquinas' philosophy, which are structurally Aristotelian. Points he discusses include similarities between the two philosophers' ontology and epistemology, while also outlining a point of divergence in Aquinas' view of God as an "efficient cause."

Telegram from the Bailey Family to Dr. King

Friday, October 24, 1958
Montgomery, AL, Alabama (AL)

The Bailey family welcomes Dr. King home.

Teacher's Manual: Civil Disobedience, Morality, and the Coming of the Civil War

Chicago, IL, Massachusetts (MA), Illinois (IL)

Muriel Moulton of Chicago, Illinois provides a course manual for teaching civil disobedience and morality leading up to the American Civil War. Moulton does not assign a value to the morality of civil disobedience, but only poses the question while providing primary sources for interpretation.

Event Program for Chester Robinson Tribute

Chicago, IL

Speaking invitation to Dr. King for a tribute to Chester Robinson and the West Side Organization at the First Congregational Church in Chicago.

The Purpose of Religion

Dr. King argues that the purpose of religion is not to "perpetuate a dogma," but to create witnesses to the power of God. He also considers whether salvation comes from upholding a particular creed or whether it comes from an individual reconciling with God.

Letter from Linda Robinson to MLK

Friday, March 12, 1965
Berkeley, CA, California (CA)

Linda Robinson, a sixth grade student at Lincoln School in California, writes Dr. King expressing her admiration towards him for his work with the Civil Rights Movement.

Birmingham Manifesto

Birmingham, AL

This manifesto details the methods, accomplishments, failures and reasons for the use and postponement of direct action tactics in Birmingham, Alabama.

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 Mrs. Raymond Gautier and Mrs. Robert Joyner to MLK

Wednesday, June 19, 1963
Washington (WA), Alabama (AL), Jackson, MS, Mississippi (MS)

The President and Secretary of a Seattle benefit guild, an organization consisting of twelve Negro women who seek to "promote unity for the improvement of the community," request a meeting with Dr. King. The benefit guild hopes to sponsor a rally to raise funds for the SCLC. Furthermore they describe the Northwest as a silent "nice nasty."

American Education: Segregation, Northern Style

Arkansas (AR), Little Rock, AR, Louisiana (LA), New Orleans, LA, Mississippi (MS), Georgia (GA), Atlanta, GA, New York (NY), New York, NY, Illinois (IL), Chicago, IL, California (CA), Los Angeles, CA, Washington, D.C., UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Ohio (OH), Cleveland, OH, New Jersey (NJ), Connecticut (CT), Michigan (MI), Detroit, MI, Massachusetts (MA), Indiana (IN)

This article from American Education focuses on the problem of de facto segregation in Northern and Southern cities that results from discrimination in housing and contributes to further housing discrimination and minority unemployment. De facto segregation is as detrimental as legalized (de jure) segregation. The author provides an overview of efforts around the country to eliminate segregation in public schools and some of the difficulties encountered.

SCLC Administrator Job Description

Monday, August 29, 1966

This document outlines the responsibilities of the role of an Administrator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Letter from Arthur Spence to MLK

Wednesday, August 31, 1966
New York, NY, Chicago, IL

Spence writes Dr. King defending the critical perceptions that some whites hold of blacks. As an African American, Spence feels that some members of his race have developed bad habits.

Letter to Ralph Abernathy from Abraham Grinoch

Monday, April 22, 1968
New Jersey (NJ)

Rev. Ralph Abernathy received this letter addressing the issuance of war bonds to meet financial requirements during war emergencies. Grinoch proposes that the country issue "War on Poverty Bonds", to provide the funds necessary for eradicating poverty in the United States.

SNCC Newsletter - The Student Voice

Friday, March 5, 1965
Atlanta, GA, Mississippi (MS), Alabama (AL), Georgia (GA), Arkansas (AR), UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Selma, AL, Maryland (MD)

The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) began publishing "The Student Voice" in June 1960. The news magazine contained reports on SNCC activities, marches, sit-ins and other events related to the civil rights movement. The copy shown here is addressed to Andy Young.

New Attack on Highlander Folk School

Tuesday, July 16, 1963
Tennessee (TN), New Orleans, LA

The Southern Conference Educational Fund distributed this "Action Memo" to generate support for Highlander High School in a fight against the State of Tennessee.