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Committee to Defend Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Committee to Defend Martin Luther King and the Struggle for Freedom in the South was formed in 1960 following Dr. King’s February 1960 arrest on felony perjury charges for allegedly signing fraudulent Alabama state tax returns for 1956 and 1958. Chaired by A. Philip Randolph, the organization raised legal defense funds for Dr. King, student protestors and voter registration efforts. The Committee placed a full-page ad in the New York Times on 29 March 1960, leading to a libel suit by L. B. Sullivan, Montgomery police commissioner, against the newspaper and four ministers. Sullivan won the case in Alabama courts. However the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the convictions in New York Times Co. v. Sullivan (1964), a landmark decision for freedom of the press. King had been acquitted of the perjury charges in 1960 by an all-white Alabama jury.

Associated Archive Content : 4 results

Committee to Defend Martin Luther King, Jr. Press Release

Bayard Rustin announces the formation of the Committee to Defend Martin Luther King, Jr. The Committee was formed in response to charges against Dr. King being filed by Alabama. The Committee intends to raise $200,000 in support of Dr. King and the SCLC.

SCLC Newsletter: March 1964

The March, 1964 SCLC newsletter reports many news items, including a voter registration drive in Alabama, the results of several legal cases, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, an article criticizing Judge Durwood T. Pye and the use of interracial primers in Detroit's public schools.

Statement on the Indictment of MLK

The "Committee to Defend Martin Luther King, Jr." issued this statement, accusing the state of Alabama of falsely distorting Dr. King's 1958 income tax return in an attempt to indict him.

The Burning Truth in the South

This article reprinted from "The Progressive," details the discriminatory conditions experienced by blacks in the South and urges support in the nonviolent struggle for freedom and equality.