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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.
Beresford Hayward, Planning Consultant of the Department of Education in Puerto Rico, writes Dr. King to inform him of the racial climate in Puerto Rico and its issue of Cuban immigration. Mr. Hayward also presents a comparison between the race issues inflicting Puerto Rico and the United States of America.
Chicago's Temple Sholom encourages interested parties to reserve their tickets soon, given the widespread enthusiasm for Dr. King's upcoming speaking engagement.
Curtis W. Harris, of the Virginia State Unit of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, wrote to Dr. King to alert him that the Smithfield Packing Company has a labor situation very similar to that of Scripto in Atlanta. Harris explains that none of the senior Negro employees are in the appropriate income bracket and could use Dr. King's assistance.
Ms. Chisholm, from South Africa, informs Dr. King of her temporary stay in the United States to research the non-violent movement and work of SCLC. She request to meet with Dr. King to discuss his work in Atlanta, GA and Chicago, IL.
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.
Dr. King wishes to clarify his endorsement of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers. He states that he did not mean to imply that there was a civil rights issue in the "collective bargaining election," but rather that he admires the accomplishments of the labor movement.
Elmer Elsea enlightens Dr. King on how his involvement with the previous Holy Week brought joy and blessings. Mr. Elsea discovers Dr. King will be returning to the Holy Land of Jerusalem for the Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom. Mr. Elsea encourages Dr. King to utilize Citexco Tours to conduct his expedition.
David Mocine writes on the economic disparity in the United States regarding African Americans in relation to their percentage of the population.
In this New York Amsterdam News article of February 2, 1963, Dr. King mentions writer James Baldwin’s scathing indictment of the Christian Church and states that the Church has been complicit in the system of racial segregation or remained silent on racial injustice, the nation’s most urgent social ill. The church should be the headlight, he states, not the taillight and be true to the prophetic call for justice. King takes hope, however, having just attended the National Conference on Religion and Race in Chicago, which brought together Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish leaders.
An editor from McGraw-Hill Book Company writes Dr. King to introduce the work of young African-American author Audrey Lee. The company sends him a galley copy of "The Clarion People", in the hope that he will add a positive remark to help promote the book.
This memorandum outlines recent legislation that permits "street demonstrations as an exercise of freedom of speech and of assembly." Specific court cases in the state of Alabama are also mentioned throughout the text.
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.
Dr. King presents a speech at the United Auto Workers Convention in May 1961, which acknowledges the new challenges faced by factory workers because of technological advances that threaten to leave them jobless. He draws a parallel between the plight of auto workers and the Negro experiences of disenfranchisement in the US to highlight the potential for alliance between the two groups.
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."
The Catholic Interracial Council releases a statement announcing Raymond M. Hilliard as the Chairman of the 1964 John F. Kennedy Award Dinner. During the event, Dr. King will be honored for his leadership and dedication to the civil rights struggle. Hilliard, whom President Johnson named to the National Citizens Committee for Community Relations to advise on the implementation of civil rights legislation, called Dr. King's work "inspired and truly Christian" and said that the CIC was honored to celebrate him.
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.
This pamphlet advertises the 1963 Southern Christian Leadership Conference Annual Convention. It contains detailed information about the event, including members of the planning committee and scheduled presenters.
Two professors of Columbia University, Dr. Jeanette Allen Behre and Chas. H. Behre Jr., express their dissent with Dr. King taking a public stand on the war in Vietnam. The professors feel Dr. King is jeopardizing his support for the civil rights.