Themes

The Archive

Digital Archive brought to you
by JPMorgan Chase & Co.

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.

Explore another theme

SCLC Report: Operation Breadbasket

Chicago, IL, New York, NY, Mississippi (MS), Alabama (AL), Georgia (GA), Tennessee (TN), Kentucky (KY), Virginia (VA), Louisiana (LA), Florida (FL), South Carolina (SC)

Rev. Fred C. Bennette, Jr. writes a report on Operation Breadbasket. Rev. Bennette "hopes to increase its activity in alleviating the economic plight of the Negro in America." At the culmination of the report, he lists the main cities where the project will be implemented.

Letter from Franklin W. Thomas to MLK

Friday, June 2, 1967
Atlanta, GA

Franklin W. Thomas writes to Dr. King to apologize for the delay in honoring his participation in the Hungry Club Forum 20th Anniversary Series.

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.

Telegram from Minsters of Operation Breadbasket to Robert E. Slater

Wednesday, November 22, 1967
Boston, MA, Baltimore, MD

The John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company is called to discuss racial discrimination. Ministers from Operation Breadbasket explain that they will commence an investigation to possibly eradicate the unequal employment practices of the company.

Co-Op Movements for Black Economic Development

Chicago, IL, California (CA), Virginia (VA), Mississippi (MS), Illinois (IL)

This memorandum sent to Dr. King by Professor St. Clair Drake, is a full proposal for the development/revival of the co-operative movements among negroes in large urban centers.

Letter from the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament to MLK

UNITED KINGDOM, London, England, Washington, D.C.

Canon L. John Collins, a founder of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, invites Dr. King to speak at a rally in Trafalgar Square in London, England. The proposed rally will be based on the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, and Collins would like to provide a direct link between the rally and the Washington March through the participation of both Bayard Rustin and Dr. King.

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.

Letter from Malcolm X to MLK

Wednesday, July 31, 1963
New York, NY

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.

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.

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.

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.

Letter from Theodore E. Brown to MLK

Wednesday, October 12, 1966
New York (NY), New York, NY, Georgia (GA), ZAMBIA

The Director of the American Negro Leadership Conference On Africa sent this letter to update Dr. King and other committee members about plans for the third national biennial leadership conference.

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."

Letter from John A. McDermott Copied to Al Raby and MLK

Thursday, July 13, 1967
Illinois (IL), Chicago, IL, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

John A. McDermott, Executive Director of the Catholic Interracial Council, writes to Al Raby and Dr. King. Mr. McDermott describes the Council's involvement with the Chicago Freedom Movement. Mr. McDermott also expresses his appreciation for Mr. Raby and Dr. King's support in the fight for fair housing legislation in Chicago. McDermott goes on to describe the Movement struggle with the controversial Atomic Energy Commission project in Weston, Illinois.

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.

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

Saturday, February 3, 1962
Washington, D.C., Montgomery, AL, New York, NY

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.

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.

Letter to MLK from Homer Brown

Monday, October 4, 1965
Atlanta, GA

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

A New South A-Coming

Alabama (AL), GEORGIA, South Carolina (SC), Tennessee (TN)

This pamphlet discusses the courageous stand of African American high school students against racial discrimination in the South. The efforts demonstrated by these young people to bring about change of many undemocratic practices were significantly noted in Negro history.

Black Power: The Politics of Liberation in America

Maryland (MD), VIETNAM, Mississippi (MS), New York, NY, Greenwood, MS

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 Joan Daves to MLK

Tuesday, September 8, 1964
London, England, New York, NY, New York (NY)

This letter from Ms. Daves to Dr. King features requests regarding his itinerary for his trip to England.

Letter from Esther Jackson to MLK

Monday, June 28, 1965
New York, NY

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.

Letter from Irwin Heilner to MLK

Thursday, December 19, 1963
Atlanta, GA, Georgia (GA), New Jersey (NJ)

Music composer Irwin Heilner corresponds with Dr. King inquiring about the possibility of composing music and setting it to King's "I Have A Dream" speech.

An Appeal by Puerto Ricans for Fair Treatment

New York (NY), Brooklyn, NY, Chicago, IL, Connecticut (CT), VIETNAM, PUERTO RICO

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.

Temple Sholom Concert Forum Committee Announces MLK as Guest Lecturer

Chicago, IL, Illinois (IL)

Chicago's Temple Sholom encourages interested parties to reserve their tickets soon, given the widespread enthusiasm for Dr. King's upcoming speaking engagement.

Letter from Nathaniel L. Hawthorne to MLK

Friday, March 22, 1968
Virginia (VA), Washington, D.C.

Nathaniel Lee Hawthorne, who describes himself as “a nonviolent militant Negro” from rural Virginia, asks Dr. King for advice on publishing a book. Hawthorne wants to tell the nation what it feels like to be poor

Letter from Curtis Harris to MLK

Monday, February 1, 1965
Virginia (VA)

Curtis W. Harris, of the Virginia State Unit of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, wrote to Dr. King to alert him that the Smithfield Packing Company has a labor situation very similar to that of Scripto in Atlanta. Harris explains that none of the senior Negro employees are in the appropriate income bracket and could use Dr. King's assistance.

Telegram from Mr. Robert Lieberman to MLK about Denver Teachers Union

Chicago, IL, Philadelphia, PA, Denver, CO

In this telegram, Mr. Lieberman writes to Dr. King requesting his support for an upcoming unionization vote by Denver public school teachers.

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.

It is Not Enough to Condemn Black Power...

Saturday, October 1, 1966
Mississippi (MS), Chicago, IL

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.