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 James Farmer to MLK

Wednesday, August 16, 1967
Cleveland, OH, California (CA), ZAMBIA

Chairman J. Farmer gives Dr. King a report from the National Advisory Committee of CORE.

Letter From George Patton Jr. to MLK

New York, NY, Atlanta, GA

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."

Letter from Matthew T. Doherty to MLK

Tuesday, July 26, 1966
Atlanta, GA, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, New York (NY)

Matthew Doherty responds to an "eloquent and moving" appeal from Dr. King in the July 26th issue of The New York Times. Doherty discusses the recent surge in "black power" and its role in the ongoing struggle for equal rights. The writer also mentions his "small" contribution to aid Dr. King's efforts to "make this a better world for all of us."

Telegram from MLK to President Kennedy

In this draft telegram, Dr. King expresses his appreciation to President Kennedy for the Executive Order outlawing discrimination in all federally assisted housing.

Request from The Wooster Afro-American Students Organization

Tuesday, March 19, 1968
Ohio (OH)

The Wooster Afro-American Students Organization inquires if Dr. King would be available to speak to the institute about the concept of Black Power.

Letter from Percival Ennis to MLK

BELIZE, HONDURAS

Percival Ennis, president of the Universal Negro Improvement Association in British Honduras, asks Dr. King if he is able to visit British Honduras and speak to his organization.

Letter from Richard A. Russell to MLK about Integrated Housing

Tuesday, November 22, 1966
Atlanta, GA, Georgia (GA)

In this letter to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Mr. Russell inquires about the Federal Housing Administration's decision on the requirements of housing integration.

People in Action: Segregation And The Church

Saturday, February 2, 1963
New York (NY), New York, NY, Chicago, IL, Illinois (IL)

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.

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.

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.

Letter from Richard W. Boone to MLK

Tuesday, January 11, 1966
Washington, D.C.

A letter from Richard Boone, Executive Director of Citizens Crusade Against Poverty, to Dr. King, enclosing the preliminary draft of the C.C.A.P.'s training proposal to the Ford Foundation.

Letter from MLK to Rabbi S. Burr Yampol

Wednesday, July 12, 1967
Chicago, IL

Dr. King expresses gratitude to Rabbi Yampol, Chairman of the National Committee to Combat Nazism, for sending a copy of his organization's resolution.

Campaign for a World Constitution Leaflet

New York, NY, New Jersey (NJ), Illinois (IL), New York (NY), SWITZERLAND, ITALY, NETHERLANDS, INDIA

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.

Report of Director of Mission Development

Chicago, IL, New York (NY), North Carolina (NC), Indiana (IN)

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.

Letter from George W. Chivers to MLK

Saturday, August 20, 1966
Pennsylvania (PA), Philadelphia, PA, Georgia (GA), Atlanta, GA, Alabama (AL)

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.

MLK Letter to Mr. Abe Feinglass

Monday, July 27, 1964
Chicago, IL

Dr. King writes to Abe Feinglass of the Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen's Union, thanking him for the union's booklet on civil rights, "The Time Is Now." King also encloses a statement of endorsement.

Rio Grande Farm Workers Bulletin

Wednesday, February 1, 1967
Texas (TX)

This bulletin describes the difficulty that migrant farm laborers have encountered forming organizations to improve economic conditions.

Letter from the United Nations to SCLC

Friday, January 26, 1968
SOUTH AFRICA, New York (NY), New York, NY

The United Nations Special Committee on the Policies of Apartheid of the Government of the Republic of South Africa, requests information regarding activities planned and undertaken by the SCLC against apartheid.

Letter from International Institute for Peace to MLK

Sunday, June 12, 1966
Geneva, Switzerland, VIETNAM, AUSTRIA

O. P. Paliwal and Yves Choliere, from the World Council of Peace, invite Dr. King to speak at a session in Geneva about the well being of Vietnam.

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.

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.

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

Washington (WA), New York (NY)

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."

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.

Progressive National Baptist Convention Sixth Annual Session

Monday, July 31, 1967
Ohio (OH), Cincinnati, OH, South Africa, Pennsylvania (PA), Philadelphia, PA, Georgia (GA), Atlanta, GA, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

This news release outlines the events and participants for the Sixth Annual Session of the Progressive National Baptist Convention to be held in Cincinnati, Ohio. The theme of the conference is Spiritual Renewal in a Decaying Society.

A Statement to the South and the Nation

HUNGARY, Mississippi (MS), Atlanta, GA

The Southern Leaders Conference on Transportation and Non-Violent Integration issued this statement to the nation regarding the unresolved problems of civil rights. The leaders asked for all Negroes, particularly those in the South, to assert their human dignity and to seek justice by rejecting all injustices.

Letter from Randall Elias to MLK

Thursday, May 27, 1965
Illinois (IL), Chicago, IL

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.

Letter from Sarvajanik Kalyan Samiti to MLK

Friday, June 25, 1965
INDIA, Tokyo, Japan, NEPAL, Berlin, Germany, New York (NY)

The Indian organization, Sarvajanik Kalyan Samiti, expresses admiration of Dr. King's heroic struggle for civil rights in the US, along with his application of Mahatma Gandhi's methods. A bronze bust of Gandhi is offered as a gift of appreciation and a request made for placement of the statue in a children's park.

MLK's Address About South Africa

Friday, December 10, 1965
South Africa, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, FRANCE, SPAIN, PORTUGAL, ANGOLA, MOZAMBIQUE, New York, NY, New York (NY), CHINA, UNITED KINGDOM, FORMER SOVIET UNION / USSR, INDIA, GERMANY, JAPAN

Addressing the apartheid situation in South Africa, Dr. King states that white rulers of South Africa, rather than black Africans, are "modern day barbarians." He continues to say that although black South Africans are the majority, they are oppressed by the minority. This is one of many occasions that Dr. King parallels racial injustices and views civil rights as an international issue.

Letter from John Lewis to MLK

Thursday, July 22, 1965
Hawaii (HI), Atlanta, GA

In this letter, John Lewis requests a loan for the amount of $10,000 from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference so that the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee can meet their payroll and cover pressing bills. He then speaks on the importance of continuous dialogue between the SCLC and SNCC.

Telegram from Jeffrey Archer to MLK

Wednesday, December 2, 1964
London, England, UNITED KINGDOM

Jeffery Archer of Brasenose College requests a signed copy of one of Dr. King's books for the Oxfam Campaign.