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Diggs, Charles C.

b. 1922 - d. 1998

A native of Detroit, Charles Diggs was the first African American elected to Congress (1955-1980) from Michigan and was the first chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus. He garnered considerable media attention for attending the September 1955 trial of the accused killers of Emmett Till in Mississippi. Following the trial he proposed that President Eisenhower convene a special session of Congress to consider civil rights issues. He remained an avid advocate for civil rights legislation throughout his tenure in Congress. Diggs was also interested in American policy toward Africa. He was active in opposing apartheid in South Africa and served as chairman of the Subcommittee on Africa of the Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Associated Archive Content : 8 results

Anonymous Letter to Charles C. Diggs Jr.

This anonymous letter to Congressman Charles Diggs, Jr. of Michigan details the grievances suffered by Negro and Caucasian females in the U.S. Army. The authors assert that they routinely are subjected to segregation in public accommodations and are denied equal opportunity for promotion and reenlistment.

Coretta Scott King Program

A program from the First Baptist Church recognizing Coretta Scott King, dated April 30, 1959.

Institute of Non-Violence and Social Change: Reformation for Freedom

This 1957 program with the theme "Dignity with Humility, Love with Courage and Justice without Violence" details an event of the Institute of Non-Violence and Social Change, in which Dr. King is featured as a guest speaker. Though his affiliation is listed as President of Montgomery's Improvement Association, Dr. King appeared as leader of the nascent Southern Christian Leadership Conference, formed January 10, 1957.

Letter from Charles C. Diggs Jr. to the General Motors Corporation

In this letter, Congressman Charles Diggs of Michigan asks Mr. Louis Seaton of General Motors for his comments in regards to automobile dealerships. The Congressman then points out that General Motors is the only one of the "Big 3" automobile companies that has not taken initiative in having a Negro franchise holder.

Letter from Congressman Charles Diggs to MLK

Michigan Congressman Charles Diggs returns the proposed plans for the August 28th, 1963 "March on Washington" to Dr. King.

Letter from Constance Beitzell to MLK

In the aftermath of Dr. King's arrest in Birmingham, Constance Beitzell expresses her dissatisfaction with federal officials not putting an end to the intimidation against Negroes in Birmingham. Beitzell is perplexed at the fact that the United States promotes freedom but does not allow freedom for many of its citizens who happen to be Negro. According to Beitzell, "What man in a Christian nation can trample on the rights of a citizen because of his race?"

Letter from MLK to Congressman Charles C. Diggs, Jr.

Dr. King responds to the concerns of Congressman Charles Diggs regarding the March on Washington. He encloses a privately distributed memorandum about the march that Dr. King believes will answer the questions Congressman Diggs has about the march. Dr. King also briefly explains the purpose and some logistics of the march.

Telegram from United States House of Representatives to MLK

The United States House of Representatives congratulates Dr. King and other leaders on their march to Montgomery, Alabama. They believe that the march will be recognized as the "beginning of genuine democracy" in American history.