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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.

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Letter from Walter Martin to SCLC Officials

Tuesday, February 28, 1967
New York, NY, South Africa

Walter Martin of the American Friends Service Committee, writes to numerous SCLC officials concerning Quaker work in Southern Africa.

Anonymous Letter to Charles C. Diggs Jr.

Alabama (AL), New Orleans, LA, Louisiana (LA), Chicago, IL, Illinois (IL), JAPAN

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.

Anonymous Letter to MLK


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

Essay - MLK Entitled "The Bravest Man I Ever Met"

Dr. King's essay, entitled "The Bravest Man I Ever Met," profiles Norman Thomas, a prominent Socialist.

Injunction from the City of Birmingham

Atlanta, GA, Ohio (OH), Cincinnati, OH, Alabama (AL), Birmingham, AL

Several members of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, including Dr. King, receive a temporary injunction from the City of Birmingham.

Workers Defense League Board Meeting Announcement

New York, NY

This is an invitation to the annual national executive board meeting of the Workers Defense League in New York City. The agenda is to discuss civil rights, how to defend the rights of conscientious objectors, workers and welfare recipients, political asylum, and other topics.

Letter from Andrew Heiskell to MLK

Tuesday, July 25, 1967
New York, NY, Chicago, IL, Atlanta, GA, Detroit, MI, Boston, MA, Washington, D.C.

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.

Chicago Daily News: Operation Breadbasket

Monday, August 8, 1966
Chicago, IL

The Chicago Daily News posts an article highlighting Operation Breadbaskets success in opening up two hundred and twenty four jobs in Chicago's dairy industry for Negroes.

Letter from Franklin W. Thomas to MLK

Friday, June 2, 1967
Atlanta, GA

Franklin W. Thomas writes to Dr. King to apologize for the delay in honoring his participation in the Hungry Club Forum 20th Anniversary Series.

Blue Spiral Notebook

North Carolina (NC)

Contained in this notebook is a draft of Dr. King's statement to Judge James E. Webb following his arrest during the Rich's Magnolia Tea Room Sit-In. There is also an outline of a letter to female students who were arrested during the sit-in. On other pages a child practices handwriting.

Letter from SNCC's Judy Richardson to Coretta Scott King

Sunday, September 5, 1965
Georgia (GA), Atlanta, GA

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.

The Many Faces of Black Power


The author identifies several approaches to the notion of Black Power. The author concludes that Black Power is "a programmatic concept capable of objective definition", "it presents many difficulties", and that the negatives have outweighed the positives.

Selma Friendship Day Report

Selma, AL, Alabama (AL), Mississippi (MS)

This document highlights information surrounding "Selma Friendship Day," which was a white-led counter-protest intended to offset the effects of Kingian boycotts. This counter-protest was met with a demonstration, in which 120 pro-Kingian persons were arrested and the local SCLC office was barricaded.

Letter from Howard Schomer to Robert Kennedy

Saturday, October 26, 1963
New Orleans, LA, Washington, D.C., Louisiana (LA), Birmingham, AL

Howard Schomer asks the US Attorney General several questions about the legality of a police raid that occurred at a Southern Conference Educational Fund (SCEF) office in New Orleans, Louisiana. Schomer wants to know if the statute under which the raid was carried out has legal force and does the Department of Justice have an obligation to make its evidence public?

The Other America

Sunday, March 10, 1968

Dr. King delivered this speech, "The Other America," for the Local 1199 Salute to Freedom program. The speech emphasized the need to address poverty, the Vietnam War, and race relations in America.

Letter from Bishop P. Randolph Shy to MLK

Friday, August 11, 1967
Atlanta, GA, California (CA)

Presiding Bishop of The Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, P. Randolph Shy, declines Dr. King's invitation to attend an upcoming convention. Bishop Shy mentions that he will make a contribution "through our churches to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference."

Telegram from MLK to Judy Silver & Gordon Geller

Atlanta, GA, Ohio (OH)

Dr. King salutes the Cincinnati Committee of Concern for Soviet Jewry for their efforts to end discrimination against the Jewish people of the U.S.S.R.

Address by MLK to American Jewish Committee

Thursday, May 20, 1965
New York, NY, Montgomery, AL, Selma, AL, GERMANY

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.

Statement from the Eisenhower Administration to the NAACP

Sunday, June 26, 1955
New Jersey (NJ), Atlantic City, NJ, Washington, D.C.

In an address to the NAACP, Vice President Richard Nixon discusses the reasons that progress has been made in the Eisenhower Administration and the goals that the organization needs to continue working toward.

Letter from Prince Johannes of Bohemia to MLK

Sunday, December 17, 1967

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

Letter from Mark Raphael to MLK

New York (NY), Atlanta, GA

Mark Raphael, the President of the All-Square Student Congress Speaker's Bureau at New York University, invites Dr. King to talk about his priorities in America and plans for Washington.

Letter from the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament to MLK

UNITED KINGDOM, London, England, Washington, D.C.

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.

Black Power - Dr. Vincent Harding

Atlanta, GA, New York, NY, Mississippi (MS), ALGERIA, Birmingham, AL, Albany, GA, Georgia (GA), EGYPT

Dr. Harding gives a full detailed presentation on Black Power before the Southeastern Regional Advisory Board of the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith.

Soap, Brush Help

Chicago, IL, Illinois (IL)

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.

The Massachusetts Review: A Legacy of Creative Protest

Friday, September 7, 1962
Mississippi (MS), Albany, GA, Montgomery, AL, Massachusetts (MA), Georgia (GA), Alabama (AL)

Dr. King writes of the influence of Henry David Thoreau's essay on the duty of civil disobedience in forming his belief that non-cooperation with evil is a moral obligation. He cites lunch-counter sit-ins, freedom rides, and the bus boycott as evidence that Thoreau’s thinking is still alive. This article appeared in a special 1962 issue of The Massachusetts Review commemorating the centennial of Thoreau’s death.

Pamphlet About the Black Panther Party

Wednesday, June 1, 1966
Alabama (AL), New York, NY, Birmingham, AL, Chicago, IL, Boston, MA, Selma, AL, Los Angeles, CA

This pamphlet contains historical and contextual references to the Black Panther Party. It also includes a speech by John Hulett and an interview of Stokely Carmichael highlighting the political and social movements occurring in Lowndes County, Alabama.

Unity West Program

Thursday, June 1, 1967
Wisconsin (WI), Milwaukee, WI, Washington (WA), UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Unity West issues this worship program for June 1967.

Letter from Leonard E. Smith to MLK

Friday, October 6, 1967
Mississippi (MS), Alabama (AL), GEORGIA, Florida (FL), South Carolina (SC)

Leonard Smith writes to Dr. King concerning a new venture of the National Sharecroppers Fund, which seeks to invest Negro business captial in Southeastern farming areas to benefit the rural poor.

Methodist Church Statement on Vietnam Conflict


The Board of Christian Social Concerns of the Methodist Church releases a statement regarding the conflict in Vietnam and possible outcomes and solutions. The board urges steps leading to a withdrawal of US forces from Vietnam.

News/Letter: Atlanta Workshop in Nonviolence

Wednesday, November 1, 1967
Atlanta, GA, Washington, D.C., Montgomery, AL, VIETNAM, Georgia (GA)

Here is a 1967 newsletter from the Atlanta Workshop in Nonviolence, covering a number of topics including the Vietnam War, the March on Washington, fascism, and non-violent tactical plans.