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Spotlights

There are nearly a million documents associated with the life of Martin Luther King Jr. These pages will present a more dynamic view than is often seen of Dr. King’s life and times. The documents reveal the scholar, the father, and the pastor. Through these papers we see the United States of America at one of its most vulnerable, most honest and perhaps most human moments in history. There are letters bearing the official marks of royalty and the equally regal compositions of children. You will see speeches, telegrams, scribbled notes, patient admonitions and urgent pleas. This spotlight shows you a glimpse of the remarkable history within this collection.

The Modern Negro Activist

Dr. King profiles the emergent young Negro civil rights activist who is college-educated, creative, brave and committed to the discipline of non-violence. He attributes the activist's diligence to a keen awareness that they inhabit a world on the cusp of positive social change and that they will have the privilege to direct that change. They are no longer to be an imitator of his white counterpart, but rather an initiator and leader in this new age.

Letter from Chuck Barris to MLK

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Chuck Barris has received national monetary support for the truck rentals used for the Selma to Montgomery March.

Tuesday, May 4, 1965

Text of Speech Delivered at Lincoln Memorial

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This speech, given by Dr. King at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C, brings attention to the current state of oppression of Negro men and women in 1963.

Wednesday, August 28, 1963

Letter from Josephine Baker to MLK

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Josephine Baker expresses her admiration for Dr. King as a great leader and articulates her commitment to the Civil Rights Movement.

Saturday, August 31, 1963

Civil-Righters Isolation

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David Lawrence states that the recent initiatives of Negro leaders are hindering the overall mission of the Civil Rights Movement. He believes that Negro groups are defeating their own cause.

Saturday, April 1, 1967

Letter from Angie Elizabeth Shelton to MLK

Mrs. Shelton expresses her gratitude to Dr. King for renewing her faith. After reading one of Dr. King's books, she states that she felt herself beginning to believe. Mrs. Shelton has decided to buy and study "Civil Disobedience" thanks to Dr. King.

MLK Reflections on the Selma March, Bloody Sunday, SNCC and Communism

Dr. King discusses the Selma to Montgomery march, calling it the "most powerful and dramatic civil rights protest ever held in the south." Dr. King also addresses criticism of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee's tactics. He concludes these notes by responding to claims that he has communist ties, denying any foreign or left-wing influence on his actions. Of Bayard Rustin and C. T.

Meet the Press

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This transcript of a special 90-minute edition of NBC’s Meet the Press features Dr. King and other prominent Negro civil rights leaders discussing the topics of war, nonviolence, integration, unemployment and black power. The program was aired on radio and television.

Sunday, August 21, 1966

Photo of MLK

An unidentified photo of Dr. King from the Morehouse Collection.

Telegram from MLK to Elijah Muhammed

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Dr. King commends Muhammad Ali's conscientious objection to the Vietnam War. He encourages Elijah Muhammed to convince Ali to speak at the upcoming Tenth Annual Convention of SCLC.

Monday, August 14, 1967

President Kennedy's Record

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In this February 1962 column for the New York Amsterdam News, Dr. King acknowledges President Kennedy's appointment of Negroes and executive order ending employment discrimination. But he calls the President “cautious and defensive” in providing strong leadership in civil rights and criticizes him for not ordering an end to discrimination in federally-assisted housing.

Friday, February 9, 1962

March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom Pamphlet

This pamphlet promotes the historic March on Washington of August 28, 1963. The pamphlet calls upon Congress to pass civil rights legislation and end the "twin evils of discrimination and economic deprivation" that plague the nation.

Morehouse Introduction to Philosophy Notes

These typed notes from Dr. King’s early years at Morehouse College are for an Introduction to Philosophy course led by Professor Samuel Williams. King outlines the topic of highest ends: motive and standard, changing and unchanging morality, and reason and emotion that determine the standard.

MLK's Doctoral Dissertation Abstract: A Comparison of the Conceptions of God in the Thinking of Paul Tillich and Henry Nelson Wieman

Man's Struggle for Freedom

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The "Chicago Tribune" reviews Dr. King's book "Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?"

Sunday, June 25, 1967

Tonight Show Appearance Press Release

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The SCLC announces that Dr. King will appear on the Tonight Show with Harry Belafonte filling in for Johnny Carson as host. Comedian Nipsey Russell and actor Paul Newman, both active in the civil rights movement, will also be guests. Dr. King looks forward to this opportunity to speak about the upcoming Poor People?s Campaign.

Wednesday, January 31, 1968

MLK Speech at NAACP Sponsored Rally for Civil Rights

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Dr. King gives a speech in which he addresses a myriad of issues on the subject of civil rights.

Sunday, July 10, 1960

Protest Against MLK Flyer

This flyer accuses Dr. King of being a traitor and calls for a protest rally when he appears at Grosse Pointe High School in Detroit

SCLC Meeting Agenda

Dr. King notes agenda items to cover with the SCLC staff, including improving organization within the SCLC, finances and upcoming programs.

Sixth Grade Wisconsin Achievement Test Responses

This is a collection of responses from sixth graders of average ability in a Wisconsin school. Although the instructions are not provided, it seems evident that the students were tasked to paraphrase the passage or, simply tell what the passage meant to them.

Letter from Robert J. McCracken to MLK

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Rev. McCracken, of Riverside Church in New York, informs Dr. King that he is scheduled to speak at two identical church services. The Church has added the second service because the New York World?s Fair will be open.

Tuesday, February 4, 1964

Senator Edward Kennedy's Address to SCLC

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Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) addresses the 1966 SCLC Annual Convention, stating that the sit-ins, freedom rides and Montgomery bus boycott created a movement that brought about the most important change of the last 20 years. He says that while the caste system in politics is over, the life of the average Negro hasn’t changed much. Society is becoming divided rich and poor, black and white, and a massive commitment of national resources must be made to upgrade Negro life in America.

Monday, August 8, 1966

Letter from Bible Student to MLK

The bible student who wrote this letter used biblical references to justify segregation and to persuade Dr. King to cease civil rights demonstrations.

Letter from Jackie Robinson to MLK

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Jackie Robinson writes Dr. King to accept a position of responsibility with the SCLC.

Tuesday, October 9, 1962

Anonymous Letter to MLK

The author of this letter asks what Dr. King is doing for his people. He or she recommends the rich Negro people in the community help the poor just as the American Jewish community helped Israel.

Nobel Peace Prize Dinner Program

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The citizens of Atlanta held a recognition dinner on January 27, 1965 to honor Dr. King for his Nobel Peace Prize. Tributes were offered by Mayor Ivan Allen, Jr., AME Bishop Ernest Hickman, Rev. Edward Driscoll of the Georgia Council of Churches, State Senator Leroy Johnson, and Roman Catholic Archbishop Paul Hallinan. Dr. King gave the address.

Monday, January 27, 1964

Letter from United States Congress to MLK

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Joseph McDade writes Dr. King to solicit his views regarding the affects of organized crime on the plight of the urban poor.

Friday, September 22, 1967

Letter From Birmingham City Jail

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This version of Dr. King's "Letter From Birmingham Jail," published by the American Friends Service Committee, also includes the original statement made by the clergyman that prompted Dr. King's response. The eight clergymen described Dr. King's actions as "unwise and untimely." In his response, Dr. King references biblical and historical figures to illustrate why the Civil Rights Movement can no longer wait. He also expresses his frustration with many within organized religion and the moderate white American.

Wednesday, May 1, 1963

Address by Jackie Robinson at SCLC Freedom Dinner

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Guest speaker Jackie Robinson discusses his personal struggles with adopting the philosophy of nonviolence, race relations and the far-reaching efforts of the SCLC.

Tuesday, September 25, 1962

The False God of Money

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This sermon titled "The False God of Money" was preached by Dr. King on July 19, 1953. Dr. King raised a question to his congregation stating, "Will you serve the transitory god of money which is here today and gone tomorrow or will you serve the eternal God of the universe who is the same yesterday, today and forever?"

Sunday, July 19, 1953

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