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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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.

Selma Friendship Day Report

This document highlights information surrounding "Selma Friendship Day," which was a white-led counter-protest intended to offset the effects of Kingian boycotts. This counter-protest was met with a demonstration, in which 120 pro-Kingian persons were arrested and the local SCLC office was barricaded.

Letter from Malcolm X to MLK

Wednesday, July 31, 1963

Malcolm X invites Dr. King, along with other Negro leaders, to give an analysis and a solution on the current "race problem" at a rally in New York on August 10th.

Letter from Esther Jackson to MLK

Monday, June 28, 1965

Esther Jackson of the New York Shakespeare Festival sends Dr. King a "discussion letter" to raise the issue of desegregating the arts. Nationwide, new arts programs will emerge and existing organizations funded as part of "Great Society" programs. Jackson calls for an effort to prevent discrimination in such programs now rather than attempting to dislodge discrimination after it becomes further entrenched. She outlines the beginning of a response to the issue.

Support Negro Business

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

The Negro is the Most Glaring Evidence of White American's Hypocrisy

Dr. King shares the desire and need of American Negroes to have a social revolution for equality.

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.

Manuscript by MLK dated 2/3/62 entitled "People in Action"

Saturday, February 3, 1962

In this 1962 draft for his column in the New York Amsterdam News, Dr. King emphasizes that school desegregation and the Rosa Parks incident are crucial turning points in the Civil Rights Movement.

Black Power: The Politics of Liberation in America

Stokely Carmichael and Dr. Charles Hamilton are in partnership with SNCC to promote the Black Power Movement. SNCC creates "freedom gifts" to provide the community with the expression of the "humanistic spirit" and goal of the movement. These freedom gifts range from posters, poetry, calendars, and more.

Letter from Prince Johannes of Bohemia to MLK

Sunday, December 17, 1967

Prince Johannes, claimant to the throne of Bohemia, requests Dr. King's participation in the Presidium of the World Government.

Letter from Reverend Virgil W. Glanton to SCLC

Saturday, June 18, 1966

In this letter, Reverend Virgil Glanton gives a contribution to SCLC and offers support for the Meredith March.

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.

Letter from Mark Raphael to MLK

Mark Raphael, the President of the All-Square Student Congress Speaker's Bureau at New York University, invites Dr. King to talk about his priorities in America and plans for Washington.

Telegram from Jeffrey Archer to MLK

Wednesday, December 2, 1964

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

Black Power - Dr. Vincent Harding

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.

Telegram from Memphis Sanitation Workers' to MLK

Sunday, October 1, 1967

Members of the Memphis Sanitation Workers' Strike express an urgent need for Dr. King to travel to Memphis in order to aid them in their crusade.

Letter from John Lewis to MLK

Thursday, July 22, 1965

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.

Draft of Statement by MLK on his Involvement With the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers

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.

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."

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.

SCLC Annual Report by MLK, 1965

Wednesday, August 11, 1965

Dr King delivered this report at the SCLC's ninth annual national convention in Birmingham, Alabama. Serving essentially as a State of the Union address for the SCLC, the report touches on the major topics of the Civil Rights Movement and the recent achievements and goals of the SCLC.

Speech to the Synagogue Council of America

Sunday, December 5, 1965

Dr. King receives the Judaism and World Peace Award from the Synagogue Council of America and uses the occasion to speak about the Civil Rights Movement and international peace. He laments the vehement criticism of dissent and discussion of the Vietnam War and enumerates reasons why the Hebrew prophets are so needed today.

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.

Letter from Matthew T. Doherty to MLK

Tuesday, July 26, 1966

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 to MLK from Homer Brown

Monday, October 4, 1965

Homer Brown writes Dr. King regarding his experience with racism in the Railway Express Agency.

"Dr. King Denounces Write-In Plot"

Monday, November 2, 1964

Contrary to what radio announcements and newspapers advertise, Dr. King urges Negro voters to vote for a presidential candidate that is already on the ballot. He expresses that he is not a candidate and does not want voters to write his name on the ballot.

The Ben Bella Conversation

Dr. King summarizes his recent two-hour meeting with Premier Ahmed Ben Bella of the newly-formed Algerian Republic. He mentions that Ben Bella was intimately familiar with the details of the civil rights movement and repeatedly said or inferred that “we are brothers.” King states that “the battle of the Algerians against colonialism and the battle of the Negro against segregation is a common struggle.” There are international implications for the US if it doesn’t solve its human rights problem: the nation will become a second-rate power in the world.

Letter from George W. Chivers to MLK

Saturday, August 20, 1966

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.

Telegram from UFT President Albert Shanker to MLK

Wednesday, September 13, 1967

Albert Shanker expresses his appreciation to Dr. King for his support throughout the tumultuous 1967 education crisis in New York City.

Letter from Sanford Kahn to MLK

Wednesday, December 21, 1966

Sanford Kahn requests Dr. King's support for an effort to abolish the death penalty at the federal level. If given Dr. King's support, Kahn proposes listing the SCLC as a participating member of the ad hoc committee. If the SCLC cannot be listed, Kahn suggests Dr. King serve as an advisor.