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"Speeches"

A Statement to the South and Nation

This seemingly unexceptional document signifies the birth of the SCLC. Dr. King, Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth and Rev. C. K. Steele assembled a consortium of leaders in Atlanta following the end of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The Southern Leaders Conference on Transportation and Non-Violent Integration issued this statement that addresses the intimidation, discrimination and economic disparity Negroes face in the South. The statement appeals to the federal government to intervene against assaults that block basic civil rights.

One Vote for Every Man: Civil Rights Act

In this draft of an article for the March 1965 IUD Agenda, an AFL-CIO monthly publication, Dr. King recounts the progress made by the Civil Rights Movement and states that the issue in 1965 is the right to vote and the venue is Selma, Alabama. He discusses the pattern of exclusion, including the abuse of power by local sheriffs, illegal use of local and state laws, delay tactics of registrars, and literacy tests. He outlines measures that a Civil Rights Act of 1965 should include.

Draft Statement of Reverend Dr. MLK Jr.

This statement, not written in Dr. King's hand, responds to Joseph Alsop's syndicated column in the New York Herald Tribune. Dr. King clarifies that SCLC has no affiliation with the Communist Party. He also states the SCLC has not continued a relationship with Jack O'Dell since he was relieved of his responsibilities.

Joint Statement of MLK and SCLC

Friday, April 30, 1965

Dr. King and John Lewis deliver a statement concerning a meeting presided over by Harry Belafonte. The meeting was intended to discover ways that the SCLC and SNCC could cooperate and concluded with an agreement for both organizations to work together but separately towards a voting bill and other goals.

MLK on Danville and the Problem of Violence

Friday, July 12, 1963

Dr. King discusses his perception of the nonviolent movement, and how the leadership maintains control even though minimal violent outbreaks may occur.

Speech at NAACP World March Toward Human Rights Luncheon

Thursday, May 28, 1964

Dr. King links the quest for individual civil rights to the global struggle for human rights and states that the nation that will achieve preeminence in the world is the one that both guarantees human rights for all and provides for basic needs.

Statement Upon Return to Montgomery

Dr. King reflects on his near death experience after Izola Ware Curry stabbed him with a letter opener at a book signing in New York City on September 20, 1958. Although Dr. King refers to Curry as a "deranged woman," he has "no bitterness towards her" and sees her actions only as a "reflection on the moral climate." Dr. King further states what he will remember most is the "vast outpouring of sympathy" that was received from all races and creeds.

President Kennedy's Stand on Negotiation in Albany

In this statement made from the Albany, Georgia city jail where he was imprisoned, Dr. King expresses appreciation for President Kennedy's support of negotiation between Albany's City Commission and civil rights leaders.

Notes for U.F.T. Address

On March 14, 1964, Dr. King was presented with the John Dewey Award by the United Teachers Federation. The address he delivered that day is outlined in this type-written draft along with his handwritten notes. In the draft, Dr. King emphasizes the importance of education, especially as a tool for African American advancement. He cites how the deprivation of education has been used as a way to systematically oppress African Americans and he asserts that this inequality is a reality that must be confronted. Dr.

SCLC Annual Report by MLK, 1965

Wednesday, August 11, 1965

Dr King delivered this report at the SCLC's ninth annual national convention in Birmingham, Alabama. Serving essentially as a State of the Union address for the SCLC, the report touches on the major topics of the Civil Rights Movement and the recent achievements and goals of the SCLC.

MKL At Zoin Hill - "The Ballot"

Tuesday, July 17, 1962

This transcript of a passionate, poetic, and inspiring speech touches on many of King's motifs. It starts with an appeal for voting rights, addresses the despair the audience feels from time to time, and ends with a refrain of "we shall overcome."

MLK on the Seating of Julian Bond

Wednesday, January 12, 1966

Georgia State Legislature has refused to seat Representative-Elect Julian Bond. Dr. King expresses his disdain for the social injustice. His plan of action is to combat this prejudice by rallying members of the white and black community to engage in protest.

SCLC Press Release About Telegram to Robert Kennedy

The SCLC issues a press release, which discloses the text of telegram from Dr. King to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy.

ABC's Issues and Answers: MLK Interview

Sunday, June 18, 1967

Dr. King sat down with Tom Jerriel, Atlanta Bureau Chief, and John Casserly, Washington Correspondent, of the American Broadcasting Company for their program "Issues and Answers." They discussed the civil rights movement, Dr. King's upcoming book, and the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that Dr. King would serve jail time in Birmingham.

Epitaph for a First Lady: Eleanor Roosevelt

Saturday, November 24, 1962

Dr. Kings writes an epitaph discussing Eleanor Roosevelt and what she stood for.

A Challenge to the Churches and Synagogues

Dr. King expresses concern for the religious institutions of America. His concern is centered on the obligation that churches and synagogues have to advance civil rights and desegregation, while he goes on to reveal the parallels and connections between religion and society's values.

Excerpts from The Negro and the American Dream

Sunday, September 25, 1960

In this address to the Charlotte, North Carolina branch of the NAACP, Dr. King outlines five actions that Negroes must address in order to ensure their own first-class citizenship.

The Kinship Between the Labor Unions and Negroes

Dr. King presents a speech at the United Auto Workers Convention in May 1961, which acknowledges the new challenges faced by factory workers because of technological advances that threaten to leave them jobless. He draws a parallel between the plight of auto workers and the Negro experiences of disenfranchisement in the US to highlight the potential for alliance between the two groups.

MLK on Student Sit-Ins

Friday, April 15, 1960

Dr. King applauds the students participating in sit-in demonstrations and states that the leaders must develop a strategy for victory. He suggests topics for discussion including: creating an organization, a nationwide selective buying campaign, training for jail not bail, further exploration of nonviolence, and taking the freedom struggle into every community without exception. These suggestions led to the formation of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).

Statement by Albert Raby Responding to Attack on MLK by Ernest Rather

Albert Raby responds to questions by Ernest Rather about Dr. King's statistics related to Negro housing conditions. He explains that Dr. King's facts were taken from the 1960 census, which he contrasts with statistics from the Department of Urban Renewal.

Address by MLK to American Jewish Committee

Thursday, May 20, 1965

In this speech, Dr. King addresses the Civil Rights Movement and the use of nonviolent demonstration tactics. He distinguishes between civil disobedience, which involves breaking laws that one does not agree with, and nonviolent demonstration, which involves using one's right to protest. He states that nonviolent protest is inherently American, citing examples from the Civil War, the Suffragettes, and the American Jewish Committee's own lobbying from the early 20th Century.

Seventh Annual Gandhi Memorial Lecture

Sunday, November 6, 1966

Howard University presents Dr. King as its primary speaker for their seventh annual Gandhi Memorial Lecture in 1966. Dr. King traces the slow but meaningful progress society has made from slavery to the current civil rights movement. However, he notes that the present challenges in achieving equality involve not only the silence of individuals of good will but also the conditons that keep the Negro inferior.

MLK Address at the Georgia State Capitol Regarding Julian Bond

Friday, January 14, 1966

Dr. King delivers this speech at the State Capitol of Georgia protesting the legislation refusal to seat black politician Julian Bond. King calls this a "grave injustice" particularly since the state legislature of Georgia considers itself protecting the United States Constitution. Dr. King points out the irony of this act and exposes other irresponsible actions of the legislature.

Oberlin College Commencement

This issue of the Oberlin Alumni Magazine features commencement articles and photos as well as Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution, Dr. King’s address to the graduating class.

New York Amsterdam News: Our New President

Friday, December 27, 1963

Dr. King opens his statement on Lyndon B. Johnson, the new president of the United States, and how the tenure of his presidency began with adversity. Due to the elected southern president, the nation questions the possible improvement of the Negro community. Dr. King asserts that President Johnson's record on civil rights is astounding and his "southern-ness" will provide him with a better understanding of the Negro's plight. Dr. King further details the perceptions, actions, and works of President Johnson's efforts in the civil rights movement.

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.

SCLC Resolution on 1966 Civil Rights Act

Thursday, August 11, 1966

At its Tenth Annual Convention, the SCLC Board adopts a resolution calling upon President Johnson and Congress to reverse a vote on Title IV (Open Housing) of the Civil Rights Act of 1966 that effectively permits discrimination in the sale or rental of private housing. It also faults the Administration for failure to enforce Title VI (Ban on Federal Funds for Segregated Programs and Schools) of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and for inadequate appointment of voter examiners under the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Statement by MLK

Friday, December 11, 1964

This document contains Dr. King's remarks on injustices in the state of Mississippi. He suggests a complete boycott if the federal or state government is unable to perform the proper means of justice.

Inauguration Response by J. Lynwood Gresham

Friday, November 10, 1967

This document is the inauguration response delivered by Dr. J. Lynwood Gresham of Barber-Scotia College.

MLK Statement Regarding Desegregation

Thursday, May 24, 1962

Dr. King discusses the end of the Old South and segregation. He lists urbanization, federal intervention and the unrest of Negroes as key ingredients in breaking down the old system.