Themes

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Intersecting Movements

Martin Luther King Jr. was not only a leader in the campaign to end segregation, but also a brilliant coordinator, working with national leaders from a variety of movements who were in solidarity with that struggle. The African-American community itself was complex and dynamic; within it there were leaders who represented a variety of perspectives and efforts directed towards justice, fairness and equality in the United States and around the world. This theme is intended to provide a selection of the documents that represent Dr. King’s engagement of intersecting social movements. It includes correspondence related to organized labor, black nationalism, pan-Africanism and peace organizations.

Request from The Wooster Afro-American Students Organization

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The Wooster Afro-American Students Organization inquires if Dr. King would be available to speak to the institute about the concept of Black Power.

Tuesday, March 19, 1968

Anonymous Letter to MLK

The author suggests that Dr. King focus on six specific things to accomplish in 1968.

SCLC Tenth Anniversary Convention

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A program outlining the course of events for the 10th Anniversary Convention of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Monday, August 14, 1967

Manuscript by MLK dated 2/3/62 entitled "People in Action"

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In this 1962 draft for his column in the New York Amsterdam News, Dr. King emphasizes that school desegregation and the Rosa Parks incident are crucial turning points in the Civil Rights Movement.

Saturday, February 3, 1962

Letter from SANE's Dr. Benjamin Spock to MLK

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Dr. Benjamin Spock requests the support of the SCLC for "A Rally for Peace in Vietnam." Dr. Spock informs Dr. King, that the rally will advocate for immediate actions concerning the war in Vietnam.

Tuesday, May 4, 1965

Letter from James Farmer to MLK

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Chairman J. Farmer gives Dr. King a report from the National Advisory Committee of CORE.

Wednesday, August 16, 1967

Telegram from Minsters of Operation Breadbasket to Robert E. Slater

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The John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company is called to discuss racial discrimination. Ministers from Operation Breadbasket explain that they will commence an investigation to possibly eradicate the unequal employment practices of the company.

Wednesday, November 22, 1967

MLK Letter to Mr. Abe Feinglass

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Dr. King writes to Abe Feinglass of the Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen's Union, thanking him for the union's booklet on civil rights, "The Time Is Now." King also encloses a statement of endorsement.

Monday, July 27, 1964

Letter from the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament to MLK

Canon L. John Collins, a founder of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, invites Dr. King to speak at a rally in Trafalgar Square in London, England. The proposed rally will be based on the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, and Collins would like to provide a direct link between the rally and the Washington March through the participation of both Bayard Rustin and Dr. King.

Letter to Dr. King from Elder G.W. Watkins

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Elder G. W. Watkins writes Dr. King requesting that he and his organization join the fight to regain Cassius Clay's (Muhammad Ali) title as the Heavy Weight Boxing Champion of the World.

Friday, August 2, 1957

Letter from John Lewis to MLK

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In this letter, John Lewis requests a loan for the amount of $10,000 from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference so that the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee can meet their payroll and cover pressing bills. He then speaks on the importance of continuous dialogue between the SCLC and SNCC.

Thursday, July 22, 1965

Statement from American Jewish Congress Regarding the Bundy School-Decentralization Plan

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Murray A. Gordon, a New York lawyer and national vice president of the American Jewish Congress, endorses the Bundy School-Decentralization plan. Mr. Gordon believes that the reform is essential to good education and assures teachers that the plan will not violate their rights.

Wednesday, February 28, 1968

Letter from MLK to Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller

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In this letter, Dr. King writes to New York Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller to express his gratitude for the Governor's letter and copy of his new book. Dr. King also refers to the possibility of Gov. Rockefeller's making "a large contribution to the Gandhi Society for Human Rights," and writes extensively about the Society and the effect such a contribution would have.

Friday, September 14, 1962

Telegram from UFT President Albert Shanker to MLK

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Albert Shanker expresses his appreciation to Dr. King for his support throughout the tumultuous 1967 education crisis in New York City.

Wednesday, September 13, 1967

Letter from Theodore E. Brown to MLK

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The Director of the American Negro Leadership Conference On Africa sent this letter to update Dr. King and other committee members about plans for the third national biennial leadership conference.

Wednesday, October 12, 1966

Black Power: The Politics of Liberation in America

Stokely Carmichael and Dr. Charles Hamilton are in partnership with SNCC to promote the Black Power Movement. SNCC creates "freedom gifts" to provide the community with the expression of the "humanistic spirit" and goal of the movement. These freedom gifts range from posters, poetry, calendars, and more.

People in Action: Sit In, Stand In, Wade In, Kneel In

In this article in the New York Amsterdam News May 25, 1963, Dr. King says that, through the ballot, Negro voters can change the political structure of the South. He states that for democracy to live, segregation must die; therefore, every form of nonviolent direct action will be used to dismantle it in the South, where it is visible, and in the North, where it is more hidden. Finally, he points out that modern psychologists use the term “maladjusted.” He is glad to be “maladjusted” to segregation, religious bigotry, economic injustice, and militarism.

Letter from SNCC's Judy Richardson to Coretta Scott King

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Judy Richardson of SNCC writes to Mrs. King to give her a copy of the new Negro history primer, "Negroes in American History." The book serves as a method of teaching children about African American history while tying in elements of the Civil Rights Movement.

Sunday, September 5, 1965

Address by MLK to American Jewish Committee

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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.

Thursday, May 20, 1965

A Statement to the South and the Nation

The Southern Leaders Conference on Transportation and Non-Violent Integration issued this statement to the nation regarding the unresolved problems of civil rights. The leaders asked for all Negroes, particularly those in the South, to assert their human dignity and to seek justice by rejecting all injustices.

Letter from Prince Johannes of Bohemia to MLK

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Prince Johannes, claimant to the throne of Bohemia, requests Dr. King's participation in the Presidium of the World Government.

Sunday, December 17, 1967

MLK honored; He sees Kinship in Civil Rights and Family Planning

Dr. King receives the first Margaret Sanger Award in Human Rights at the National Conference. Dr. King states, "Negroes have a special and urgent concern with family planning as a profoundly important ingredient in their struggle for security and a decent life."

Soap, Brush Help

Addressing Chicago slums, the focal point of Dr. King's Chicago crusade, the writer of the article calls for all tenants, regardless of race, creed or color, to assume some responsibility for the upkeep of their buildings instead of expecting Dr. King and the landlords of the buildings to solve the issue for them.

Temple Sholom Concert Forum Committee Announces MLK as Guest Lecturer

Chicago's Temple Sholom encourages interested parties to reserve their tickets soon, given the widespread enthusiasm for Dr. King's upcoming speaking engagement.

Letter from Silas K. Brown to MLK

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Mr. Brown requests the help of Dr. King and the SCLC on behalf of Reverend U.S. Gilliam. Reverend Gilliam, the first Negro to run for public office in Grenada, Mississippi, is under attack by whites in his community.

Tuesday, December 26, 1967

Letter from the United Nations to SCLC

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The United Nations Special Committee on the Policies of Apartheid of the Government of the Republic of South Africa, requests information regarding activities planned and undertaken by the SCLC against apartheid.

Friday, January 26, 1968

MLK's Address to American Negro Leadership Conference on Africa

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Drawing connections between the social injustices of two continents, Dr. King discusses the relationship between segregation in America and colonialism in Africa. Dr. King also shares his opinion about America dominating Africa politically and economically.

Saturday, November 24, 1962

Letter from Andrew Heiskell to MLK

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Mr. Heiskell extends an invitation for Dr. King to join Mayors of major cities and other national leaders in forming a coalition to address urban problems.

Tuesday, July 25, 1967

People in Action: Segregation And The Church

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In this New York Amsterdam News article of February 2, 1963, Dr. King mentions writer James Baldwin’s scathing indictment of the Christian Church and states that the Church has been complicit in the system of racial segregation or remained silent on racial injustice, the nation’s most urgent social ill. The church should be the headlight, he states, not the taillight and be true to the prophetic call for justice. King takes hope, however, having just attended the National Conference on Religion and Race in Chicago, which brought together Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish leaders.

Saturday, February 2, 1963

Telegram from MLK to President Kennedy

In this draft telegram, Dr. King expresses his appreciation to President Kennedy for the Executive Order outlawing discrimination in all federally assisted housing.

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