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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Transcript: Press Conference USA

Friday, July 5, 1963
GHANA, South Carolina (SC), Washington (WA), INDIA, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Mississippi (MS), Alabama (AL), Montgomery, AL

Robert Lodge questions Dr. King about the future and past of the Civil Rights Movement during a Press Conference USA recording.

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."

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.

Telegram from MLK to President Kennedy

In this draft telegram, Dr. King expresses his appreciation to President Kennedy for the Executive Order outlawing discrimination in all federally assisted housing.

MLK's Address to American Negro Leadership Conference on Africa

Saturday, November 24, 1962
New York (NY), South Africa

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.

Urban League Feeling a Financial Squeeze

Wednesday, September 15, 1965
Chicago, IL

This article focuses on the Chicago Urban League's struggle to gain financial support from contributors. According to the organization's director Edwin C. Berry, former contributors failed to accept the fact that the goals and scope of the league would preclude the organization from becoming a "protest group."

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.

Letter from David Mocine to MLK

Monday, August 14, 1967
Wisconsin (WI), VIETNAM, FORMER SOVIET UNION / USSR, CHINA, CUBA, Detroit, MI, Cambridge, MA, New York (NY)

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

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.

Letter from Pierre C. Armand to MLK

Monday, April 1, 1968
New York (NY), HAITI, GUINEA, Brooklyn, NY

Mr. Armand writes Dr. King concerning the goals of The Haitian Community Center in New York City. The Center attempts to institute programming in order to alleviate the various difficulties of the Haitian community. Mr. Armand also invites Dr. King to speak at a distinguished event as an honorary guest.

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.

Telegram from Jeffrey Archer to MLK

Wednesday, December 2, 1964
London, England, UNITED KINGDOM

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

Letter from Randall Elias to MLK

Thursday, May 27, 1965
Illinois (IL), Chicago, IL

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 Samuel F. Daly to MLK

Tuesday, October 31, 1967
Virginia (VA), Birmingham, AL

The author suggests Dr. King reclaim his leadership of the civil rights movement from Stokely Carmichael and Rap Brown.

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 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.

Letter from MLK to Adolph Held

Friday, September 29, 1967
New York, NY, Chicago, IL, ISRAEL, Illinois (IL)

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 William S. Stein to MLK

Friday, May 6, 1966
Selma, AL, Alabama (AL), Chicago, IL

William Stein informs Dr. King that the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church will be contributing to SCLC.

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.

Letter from A. Philip Randolph to MLK about a Contribution

Thursday, March 9, 1967
New York (NY), New York, NY

In this letter A. Philip Randolph asks Dr. King for contributions needed to carry out the work of the National Advisory Committee On Farm Labor (NACFL). Randolph states, "NACFL stretches its limited funds far, but now at this critical point we must ask for your support".

Letter from John Lewis to MLK

Thursday, July 22, 1965
Hawaii (HI), Atlanta, GA

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.

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.

Request from The Wooster Afro-American Students Organization

Tuesday, March 19, 1968
Ohio (OH)

The Wooster Afro-American Students Organization inquires if Dr. King would be available to speak to the institute about the concept of Black Power.

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.

The Many Faces of Black Power

CHINA, CUBA, FORMER SOVIET UNION / USSR

The author identifies several approaches to the notion of Black Power. The author concludes that Black Power is "a programmatic concept capable of objective definition", "it presents many difficulties", and that the negatives have outweighed the positives.

Letter from Milton S. Eisenhower to MLK

Wednesday, January 26, 1966
New York, NY

This letter from former President Eisenhower's brother Milton, on behalf of Planned Parenthood World Population, requests that Dr. King serve the organization in order to "lend important moral support."

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.

Support Negro Business

Atlanta, GA, Chicago, IL

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

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.

People in Action: Sit In, Stand In, Wade In, Kneel In

Nashville, TN, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Chicago, IL, Philadelphia, PA, Los Angeles, CA, New York (NY), Mississippi (MS), Alabama (AL)

In this article in the New York Amsterdam News May 25, 1963, Dr. King says that, through the ballot, Negro voters can change the political structure of the South. He states that for democracy to live, segregation must die; therefore, every form of nonviolent direct action will be used to dismantle it in the South, where it is visible, and in the North, where it is more hidden. Finally, he points out that modern psychologists use the term “maladjusted.” He is glad to be “maladjusted” to segregation, religious bigotry, economic injustice, and militarism.