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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Memorandum from Theodore Brown to MLK and Others

Wednesday, May 17, 1967
New York, NY, South Africa, Washington, D.C.

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

Letter from SNCC's Judy Richardson to Coretta Scott King

Sunday, September 5, 1965
Georgia (GA), Atlanta, GA

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.

Letter from Walter Martin to SCLC Officials

Tuesday, February 28, 1967
New York, NY, South Africa

Walter Martin of the American Friends Service Committee, writes to numerous SCLC officials concerning Quaker work in Southern Africa.

Chicago Freedom Fund Festival

Chicago, IL, Little Rock, AR, Nashville, TN, North Carolina (NC), Mississippi (MS), New Jersey (NJ), Detroit, MI, Birmingham, AL, Atlanta, GA

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

"Meaning of Georgia Elections"

Saturday, July 3, 1965
Georgia (GA), Michigan (MI), Selma, AL, Montgomery, AL, Atlanta, GA

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.

Workers Defense League Board Meeting Announcement

New York, NY

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.

Letter from MLK to Leslie Dunbar

Monday, August 22, 1966
New York, NY, Tennessee (TN), Memphis, TN, Georgia (GA), Atlanta, GA

Dr. King writes to Dr. Leslie Dunbar to assure her that the SCLC was indeed ready and able to administer CEP Grant Funds for that school year.

The Kinship Between the Labor Unions and Negroes

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.

Letter from Walter Gibson to MLK

Tuesday, December 5, 1967
VIETNAM, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

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.

Letter from Pastor William A. Lawson to MLK

Sunday, September 25, 1966
Texas (TX), Dallas, TX

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.

Letter from Leon Lowry to the King's

Saturday, December 8, 1962
Florida (FL), Atlanta, GA

A. Leon Lowry invites the Kings to speak at Beulah Baptist Institutional Church in Florida for their Men's and Women's services.

Conference on Strengthening the New Politics

Monday, December 20, 1965
Washington, D.C., California (CA), Chicago, IL, Cleveland, OH, Detroit, MI, Boston, MA, New York (NY)

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.

Letters from Jeanette Allen Behre to MLKCharles. H. Behre to MLK

Thursday, June 1, 1967
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, VIETNAM, Atlanta, GA, Georgia (GA), New Jersey (NJ), CHINA

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.

McGraw-Hill Requests MLK Comment for New Author

Wednesday, November 8, 1967
New York, NY

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.

Address by MLK to American Jewish Committee

Thursday, May 20, 1965
New York, NY, Montgomery, AL, Selma, AL, GERMANY

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 Jill Chisholm to MLK

Sunday, January 22, 1967
Atlanta, GA, Chicago, IL, Johannesburg, South Africa

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.

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.

Support Negro Business

Atlanta, GA, Chicago, IL

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

Letter from MLK to Congressman Ogden R. Reid

Friday, February 19, 1965
Alabama (AL), Selma, AL, Washington, D.C., Georgia (GA), Atlanta, GA

Dr. King informs Congressman Reid (R-New York) of the positive impact he left on Negro citizens during his visit to Selma, Alabama.

Letter from Silas K. Brown to MLK

Tuesday, December 26, 1967
Chicago, IL, Illinois (IL), Mississippi (MS)

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.

Letter from Bishop P. Randolph Shy to MLK

Friday, August 11, 1967
Atlanta, GA, California (CA)

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."

Telegram from MLK to Judy Silver & Gordon Geller

Atlanta, GA, Ohio (OH)

Dr. King salutes the Cincinnati Committee of Concern for Soviet Jewry for their efforts to end discrimination against the Jewish people of the U.S.S.R.

Statement from the Eisenhower Administration to the NAACP

Sunday, June 26, 1955
New Jersey (NJ), Atlantic City, NJ, Washington, D.C.

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 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.

Letter from Joan Baez's Law Firm to MLK

Wednesday, January 3, 1968
California (CA)

Singer Joan Baez's law firm expresses her appreciation for Dr. King's recent correspondence.

Letter from Howard Schomer to Robert Kennedy

Saturday, October 26, 1963
New Orleans, LA, Washington, D.C., Louisiana (LA), Birmingham, AL

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?

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 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."

Letter from Lawndale Business Men's Association

Monday, January 31, 1966
Chicago, IL

The president of the Lawndale Business Men's Association, Albert Weinberg, invites Dr. King to be the principal speaker for one of the association's events.

CIC Press Release: Hilliard to Head Catholic Testimonial for MLK

Wednesday, September 23, 1964
Chicago, IL, Illinois (IL), New York (NY), New York, NY, Washington, D.C.

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.