Themes

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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 Malcolm X to MLK

Wednesday, July 31, 1963

Malcolm X invites Dr. King, along with other Negro leaders, to give an analysis and a solution on the current "race problem" at a rally in New York on August 10th.

A Knock At Midnight

Sunday, August 9, 1964

In a tape-recorded address to the Riverside Church in New York City, Dr. King compares the civil rights struggle to a parable from St. Luke. His sermon specifically tackles contemporary social issues such as segregation, discrimination, and the philosophy of nonviolence. In addition, Dr. King explores the role of the church in dealing with such problems.

Letter from the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament to MLK

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.

Letter to MLK from Homer Brown

Monday, October 4, 1965

Homer Brown writes Dr. King regarding his experience with racism in the Railway Express Agency.

The Ben Bella Conversation

Dr. King summarizes his recent two-hour meeting with Premier Ahmed Ben Bella of the newly-formed Algerian Republic. He mentions that Ben Bella was intimately familiar with the details of the civil rights movement and repeatedly said or inferred that “we are brothers.” King states that “the battle of the Algerians against colonialism and the battle of the Negro against segregation is a common struggle.” There are international implications for the US if it doesn’t solve its human rights problem: the nation will become a second-rate power in the world.

Memorandum from Theodore Brown to MLK and Others

Wednesday, May 17, 1967

Theodore Brown informs Dr. King and other civil rights leaders of a previous letter to President Johnson regarding United States-Africa relations.

Telegram from MLK to Cesar Chavez

Dr. King commends Cesar Chavez for his personal sacrifice and commitment to the use of nonviolence as a way to achieve justice.

Workers Defense League Board Meeting Announcement

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.

"Dr. King Denounces Write-In Plot"

Monday, November 2, 1964

Contrary to what radio announcements and newspapers advertise, Dr. King urges Negro voters to vote for a presidential candidate that is already on the ballot. He expresses that he is not a candidate and does not want voters to write his name on the ballot.

Pamphlet About the Black Panther Party

Wednesday, June 1, 1966

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.

Statement from the Eisenhower Administration to the NAACP

Sunday, June 26, 1955

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 Milton S. Eisenhower to MLK

Wednesday, January 26, 1966

This letter from former President Eisenhower's brother Milton, on behalf of Planned Parenthood World Population, requests that Dr. King serve the organization in order to "lend important moral support."

Letter from Franklin W. Thomas to MLK

Friday, June 2, 1967

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

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.

Letter from George W. Chivers to MLK

Saturday, August 20, 1966

George W. Chivers writes to Dr. King objecting to the Alabama law that disallows women from sitting as jurors. He compares this denial of women's civil rights to the injustices suffered by Negroes in Alabama.

Letter from Rabbi Gerald A. Goldman to MLK

Friday, March 1, 1968

Rabbi Gerald A. Goldman invites Dr. King to be a guest at the West Side Peace Committee Conference.

SCLC Report: Operation Breadbasket

Rev. Fred C. Bennette, Jr. writes a report on Operation Breadbasket. Rev. Bennette "hopes to increase its activity in alleviating the economic plight of the Negro in America." At the culmination of the report, he lists the main cities where the project will be implemented.

Campaign for a World Constitution Leaflet

This pamphlet announces a World Constitutional Convention to be held in Switzerland. Dr. King, who was among the signers of a "Call for a Constitutional Convention," is quoted in the leaflet stating that a world government would lessen tensions.

Letter From George Patton Jr. to MLK

George Patton expresses his disdain to Dr. King about the names that whites call "Black Americans" and offers a list of names that blacks should be "referred to as."

Anonymous Letter to MLK

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

MLK honored; He sees Kinship in Civil Rights and Family Planning

Dr. King receives the first Margaret Sanger Award in Human Rights at the National Conference. Dr. King states, "Negroes have a special and urgent concern with family planning as a profoundly important ingredient in their struggle for security and a decent life."

The Negro is the Most Glaring Evidence of White American's Hypocrisy

Dr. King shares the desire and need of American Negroes to have a social revolution for equality.

Letter from Theodore E. Brown to MLK

Wednesday, October 12, 1966

The Director of the American Negro Leadership Conference On Africa sent this letter to update Dr. King and other committee members about plans for the third national biennial leadership conference.

Letter from Walter Gibson to MLK

Tuesday, December 5, 1967

Mr. Gibson writes to Dr. King concerning his political position on the Vietnam War. He believes that the war is a just war because the end is to help the South Vietnamese halt the spread of communism.

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.

Letter from Randall Elias to MLK

Thursday, May 27, 1965

Randall Elias offers the support of himself and the North Shore Chapter of Americans for Democratic Action for the civil rights march from Chicago to Springfield.

Report of Director of Mission Development

Rev. Dr. Archie Hargraves was a distinguished urban minister and church leader who served America's cities for more than half a century. In this report he gives a summary of individual organizations under Mission Development, of which he was the Director. All of these organizations aimed to augment employment and economic opportunities for their respective surrounding communities.

Statement from American Jewish Congress Regarding the Bundy School-Decentralization Plan

Wednesday, February 28, 1968

Murray A. Gordon, a New York lawyer and national vice president of the American Jewish Congress, endorses the Bundy School-Decentralization plan. Mr. Gordon believes that the reform is essential to good education and assures teachers that the plan will not violate their rights.

Malcolm X Memorial Flyer

This flyer promotes a salute to American freedom and peace fighters at the Malcolm X memorial event held at Stuyvesant High School. The flyer outlines scheduled topics, speakers, and entertainers.