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 MLK to Rev. John A. Clark

Tuesday, July 11, 1967

Dr. King expresses his agreement with Reverend Clark regarding the church's lax position on "racial justice and brotherhood among men." Although he cannot participate in Reverend Clark's suggested campaign, Dr. King encourages the minister to move forward with his plans of establishing a revival campaign to preach "the message of Our Lord at every opportunity."

Telegram from Unius Griffin to MLK

Unius Griffin writes to Dr. King regarding four Negro political candidates seeking elective offices in Wilcox County, Alabama. Griffin includes information on the increasing numbers of registered Negro voters and speaks to the various intents of each Negro candidate.

Invitation to Harry Belafonte Concert

Friday, May 25, 1962

Dr. King invites friends to a Harry Belafonte concert, which is a benefit performance for the SCLC.

MLK's Address About South Africa

Friday, December 10, 1965

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.

MLK Letter to Mr. Abe Feinglass

Monday, July 27, 1964

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.

The Deep South in Social Revolution

The Deep South in Social Revolution was the theme for the 1961 SCLC Annual Meeting.

Soap, Brush Help

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.

Philadelphia Chapter of CORE Flyer

This flyer encourages participation in the reformation of the Philadelphia School System.

Address by MLK to American Jewish Committee

Thursday, May 20, 1965

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.

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.

Letter from Bishop P. Randolph Shy to MLK

Friday, August 11, 1967

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."

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.

Transcript of National Educational Television's For Freedom Now

Tuesday, July 23, 1963

For Freedom Now, with host Dr. Kenneth Clark, is television’s first exchange of ideas by the leaders of five organizations engaged in securing full civil rights for Negroes. Featured guests are Dr. King of SCLC, Whitney Young of the National Urban League, James Farmer of CORE, James Forman of SNCC, and Roy Wilkins of the NAACP.

Progressive National Baptist Convention Sixth Annual Session

Monday, July 31, 1967

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.

Request from The Wooster Afro-American Students Organization

Tuesday, March 19, 1968

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 MLK to Adolph Held

Friday, September 29, 1967

Dr. King writes Adolph Held, President of the Jewish Labor Committee, in response to his inquiry regarding SCLC's position on anti-semitism. Dr. King clarifies a number of distortions produced by the media, and presents the facts of the Chicago Conference of New Politics event throughout the letter.

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 MLK to Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller

Friday, September 14, 1962

In this letter, Dr. King writes to New York Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller to express his gratitude for the Governor's letter and copy of his new book. Dr. King also refers to the possibility of Gov. Rockefeller's making "a large contribution to the Gandhi Society for Human Rights," and writes extensively about the Society and the effect such a contribution would have.

Support Negro Business

This ad by Operation Breadbasket contains a letter from Dr. King promoting support of Negro businesses.

People in Action: Segregation And The Church

Saturday, February 2, 1963

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.

Chicago Freedom Fund Festival

The Chicago Freedom Fund Festival, organized by Mahalia Jackson, served as a benefit for the SCLC.

SCLC: Summary Of Ninth Annual Convention

This summary of the SCLC's Ninth Annual Convention describes events that were instrumental in the formation of the organization. The document outlines the ongoing projects of the organization and offers proposals for future efforts.

Agenda for the SCLC State and Local Leaders

Friday, February 2, 1962

This agenda outlines several topics discussed for the Southwide Meeting of State and Local Leaders. Dr. King, the President of the SCLC, spoke on SCLC's 'People to People' Program.

"Outrage in Alabama"

Sunday, May 5, 1963

The Southern Christian Leadership Conference reprinted the article, "Outrage in Alabama," which was originally printed in The New York Times. The article describes violent acts against civil rights demonstrators discussing the flaws within the legal system.

It is Not Enough to Condemn Black Power...

Saturday, October 1, 1966

Dr. King addresses the "Black Power" movement in this two-page document. He also explains his thoughts and experiences relating to the tactics and goals of the Civil Rights Movement.

Letter from David Mocine to MLK

Monday, August 14, 1967

David Mocine writes on the economic disparity in the United States regarding African Americans in relation to their percentage of the population.

Letter to the Citizens' Crusade Against Poverty from Richard W. Boone

Monday, August 29, 1966

Richard W. Boone provides the officers and vice chairmen of the Citizens' Crusade Against Poverty with the forthcoming meeting dates and attendance card.

An Appeal by Puerto Ricans for Fair Treatment

This document reviews the economic, political, and cultural disparity of Puerto Ricans. The authors explain the history of American imperialism in Puerto Rico and how Puerto Ricans have been mistreated in the United States, particularly in New York. Criticizing the Vietnam War, the authors suggest focusing the funding used abroad on community building.

MLK's Address to American Negro Leadership Conference on Africa

Saturday, November 24, 1962

Drawing connections between the social injustices of two continents, Dr. King discusses the relationship between segregation in America and colonialism in Africa. Dr. King also shares his opinion about America dominating Africa politically and economically.

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.