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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.
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.
Dr. King speaks about the Southern Christian Leadership Conference's Summer Community Organization and Political Education Project (SCOPE). He also talks about the political advancements that were made in the south.
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 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.
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.
Pastor Bill Lawson writes Dr. King seeking his help with spreading the Civil Rights Movement in Houston. He asks King to establish a permanent SCLC office in Houston and engage in nonviolent demonstrations.
Paul Albert forwards this letter to all individuals invited to and interested in the Shoreham Conference, in which Liberals address the shortcomings of American politics.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Mr. Brown requests the help of Dr. King and the SCLC on behalf of Reverend U.S. Gilliam. Reverend Gilliam, the first Negro to run for public office in Grenada, Mississippi, is under attack by whites in his community.
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."
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.
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.
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 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.
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."
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.