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Direct Action

Direct action is the strategic use of nonviolent tactics and methods to bring an opponent or oppressive party into dialogue to resolve an unjust situation. It is used as a moral force to illustrate, document and counter injustices. Gene Sharp originally wrote of 198 methods but the number keeps growing. The techniques and tactics for direct action include rallies, letter-writing campaigns, vigils, petitions, fasts, walks and marches, civil disobedience and boycotts. In Letter from Birmingham Jail, Dr. King mentions four steps of nonviolent campaigns: fact-finding, negotiation, self-purification and direct action. These can be seen, for example, in the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Freedom Rides.

Associated Archive Content : 142 results

Letter from MLK to Robert H. Gates

Dr. King thanks Robert Gates for his contribution to the SCLC. King encloses an official receipt and expresses that his contribution will assist in their work in Birmingham and throughout the South.

Letter from MLK to Ross Hamilton

Dr. King writes to Mr. Ross Hamilton to acknowledge receipt of his contribution to the SCLC, stating "Your gift will go a long way in helping us to make America the kind of nation it ought to be."

Letter from MLK to T. C. Johnson

Dr. King thanks Mrs. T. C. Johnson for her contribution to the SCLC and encloses an official receipt for her gift. King states, "Without your moral support we would be caught in a dungeon of despair."

Letter from MLK to Thomas R. Jones

Dr. King thanks the Honorable Thomas R. Jones for his financial and moral support of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Letter from MLK to Universal Life Insurance

Dr. King expresses appreciation to Universal Life Insurance Company for their generous contribution, and remarks the SCLC is strengthen by the undergirding support of loyal supporters.

Letter from Philip Harnden to MLK

After reading Dr. King's book, "Why We Can't Wait," Philip Harnden, a sophomore at Wheaton College, writes Dr. King expressing his newly changed insight on the Negro struggle. Mr. Harnden inquires about Dr. King's nonviolent approach and the black community beginning to abandon nonviolence by adopting more aggressive means to achieve their goals.

Letter from Rabbi Joel S. Goor to MLK

Rabbi Joel Goor extends his appreciation to Dr. King for being able to participate in SCLC's 1964 desegregation campaign in St. Augustine, Florida. He feels that his involvement in the civil rights movement spirtitually enhances his role as an active religious leader. Rabbi Goor encloses a donation to the SCLC for assisting with his bail while being jailed in St. Augustine and a copy of "Why We Can't Wait" for Dr. King to autograph.

Letter from Resident of Dade County, Florida to MLK

An anonymous writer requests Dr. King's assistance for youth in the Juvenile Court System of Dade County, Florida.

Letter from SNCC Chairman John Lewis to William Shawn

John Lewis, Chairman of SNCC, responds to a recent article in "The New Yorker." He provides a number of corrections to the article and also explains who should be considered official spokespersons for SNCC.

Letter from William W. Boyer to MLK

This Letter from William W. Boyer, Chairman of the Convocations Committee, to Dr. King informs Dr. King the transcription of his "Future of Integration" speech to the Kansas State University academic community has arrived. A copy of the transcription will be published in Issues 1968.
This enclosed transcription of his speech addresses many varied issues affecting American society.

Letter from William Woodall to MLK

Mr. Woodall relays instructions from God concerning Dr. King's next march.

Letter to Rev. Malcolm Calhoun to MLK

Dr. King appreciates Rev. Calhoun's concern for the SCLC and the mission the organization has for the creating equality. Dr. King then explains how other programs offer contributions to the SCLC so that they may continue to engage in education, voter registration, economic development, and training of ministers for urban ministries.

Letter to William H. Andrews from MLK

Dr. King expresses his deep appreciation for the members of the Georgia Family Circle's contribution to the SCLC. Dr. King explains the inability of the SCLC's continuance of the movement in Birmingham without their "dollars for freedom." He further expounds on the importance of their moral support.

List of SCLC Program Areas

This list briefly outlines the SCLC Program Areas including Voter Registration and Political Education, Citizenship Education, Operation Breadbasket, and Direct Action.

Looking Forward: The Montgomery Improvement Association, Inc.

This pamphlet outlines the ten points the Montgomery Improvement Association uses to promote healthy race relations.

Memo on Strategy of the Integration Movement

An anonymous writer pens a comprehensive strategy that focuses on achieving racial integration. Within the text of the document, the writer identifies various political, social and economical developments that are needed in order to end racially stemmed inequalities for African Americans.

Message from James Farmer About March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom

James Farmer issues a message from the Donaldsonville Jail regarding the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. He regrets that he is unable to attend the event, but he supports the goals of the March.

MLK Address to a North Carolina Branch of the NAACP

Dr. King addresses a public meeting of Charlotte, North Carolina's NAACP branch. He lists five actions the Negro can do to assist America with realizing the dream. The Negro must challenge the system of segregation, make efforts to gain ballots, and sacrifice to achieve freedom.

MLK Address to Southern Association of Political Scientists

Dr. King addresses the Southern Association of Political Scientists in November of 1964. This address consists of the accomplishments made because of the Civil Rights Movement and areas that society needs to improve upon.

MLK Announces End of Montgomery Bus Boycott

Dr. King, as President of the Montgomery Improvement Association, issued this statement following the US Supreme Court’s decision declaring laws requiring segregation on busses unconstitutional. He announces that the year-long bus boycott is officially over and urges Negroes to return to the buses the next morning on a non-segregated basis. Negroes need to adopt a spirit of understanding toward their white brothers, he says. It is time to move from protest to reconciliation.

MLK Annual Report at the 1964 SCLC Convention

MLK Confidential Memorandum

Dr. King outlines the SCLC's direct action program for the communities of Birmingham, Danville and Montgomery.

MLK on the Seating of Julian Bond

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.

MLK to Confer in June to Plan Summer Drive Here

Referencing Dr. King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Bob Modic wrote about an upcoming meeting in Cleveland, Ohio. This meeting was in preparation for the implementation of a campaign to increase employment and housing opportunities for the city's African Americans.

MLK's Public Statement Regarding Julian Bond

Dr. King expresses his indignation for the State Legislatures refusal to seat Representative-Elect Julian Bond. Dr. King asserts that there are obvious racial overtones in the State Legislatures decisions since Mr. Bond received 82 percent of the votes in his district. Dr. King will commence direct action due to the state of urgency.

New York Times: The Case Against Tokenism

In this article for the New York Times, Dr. King writes of his experiences in an Albany, GA jail. Furthermore, he submits the idea that a delayed response to integration and equality for all is no longer acceptable due to the Negro having a "new sense of somebodiness."

Nobel Lecture by MLK

This is a copy of the Lecture given by Dr. King in Oslo, Norway upon his winning the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize. He thanks the Norwegian Parliament for honoring him with this award. He speaks of the evils of racially injustice and the belief that "oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever." He speaks of the need to peacefully come together in harmony as humanity because a peaceful world cannot be built based on a "negative path."

OEO Moves to Aid Hungry Families in Seven States

The Office of Economic Opportunity initiates a new Food Stamp Loan program that will enable impoverished families to purchase "much needed" food.

Outline of MLK's 1962 Address to NAACP

In Dr. King's handwriting, this outline is from a speech he later addressed to the NAACP, at its 53rd Annual Convention in Atlanta, GA.

People In Action: Birmingham, U.S.A.

In this first of a two-part article for the New York Amsterdam News, Dr. King writes about the circumstances surrounding SCLC’s decision to develop Project C, a campaign confronting racial injustice in Birmingham. Three factors led to the decision. First, the city was the home of the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights, SCLC’s strongest affiliate. Second, Birmingham represented the hard-core segregationist South. And third, the South’s largest industrial center was suffering economically from the loss of vital industry and its poor image on race relations.

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