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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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.

Letter from SANE's Dr. Benjamin Spock to MLK

Tuesday, May 4, 1965
New York, NY, VIETNAM

Dr. Benjamin Spock requests the support of the SCLC for "A Rally for Peace in Vietnam." Dr. Spock informs Dr. King, that the rally will advocate for immediate actions concerning the war in Vietnam.

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.

MLK Announces End of Montgomery Bus Boycott

Thursday, December 20, 1956
Montgomery, AL

Dr. King, as President of the Montgomery Improvement Association, issued this statement following the US Supreme Court’s decision declaring laws requiring segregation on busses unconstitutional. He announces that the year-long bus boycott is officially over and urges Negroes to return to the buses the next morning on a non-segregated basis. Negroes need to adopt a spirit of understanding toward their white brothers, he says. It is time to move from protest to reconciliation.

Injunction from the City of Birmingham

Atlanta, GA, Ohio (OH), Cincinnati, OH, Alabama (AL), Birmingham, AL

Several members of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, including Dr. King, receive a temporary injunction from the City of Birmingham.

The Other America

Sunday, March 10, 1968
VIETNAM

Dr. King delivered this speech, "The Other America," for the Local 1199 Salute to Freedom program. The speech emphasized the need to address poverty, the Vietnam War, and race relations in America.

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 Berry Gordy, Jr. to MLK

Detroit, MI, Michigan (MI)

President of Motown Record Corporation, Berry Gordy, Jr., awaits Dr. King's decision on the album, "The Great March on Washington."

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.

Invitation to Harry Belafonte Concert

Friday, May 25, 1962
Johannesburg, South Africa, Georgia (GA), Atlanta, GA

Dr. King invites friends to a Harry Belafonte concert, which is a benefit performance for the SCLC.

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.

Report of Director of Mission Development

Chicago, IL, New York (NY), North Carolina (NC), Indiana (IN)

Rev. Dr. Archie Hargraves was a distinguished urban minister and church leader who served America's cities for more than half a century. In this report he gives a summary of individual organizations under Mission Development, of which he was the Director. All of these organizations aimed to augment employment and economic opportunities for their respective surrounding communities.

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."

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."

Telegram from Memphis Sanitation Workers' to MLK

Sunday, October 1, 1967
Atlanta, GA, Memphis, TN, Tennessee (TN)

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.

SANE Action: Citizens' Milk Strike

Friday, February 16, 1962
New York (NY), RUSSIAN FEDERATION, Nevada (NV), CHRISTMAS ISLAND

As an economic act against pollution and a nuclear war, the National Committee For A SANE Nuclear Policy stages a Citizens' Milk Strike.

Affidavit of Theo R. Wright

Friday, May 10, 1963
Birmingham, AL

In an attempt to redirect the focus of Negro students in Birmingham, Superintendent Theo R. Wright presents a sworn affidavit detailing his responsibilities and plans to revitalize the educational direction of Birmingham Public Schools.

Letter to Dr. King from Elder G.W. Watkins

Friday, August 2, 1957
Texas (TX)

Elder G. W. Watkins writes Dr. King requesting that he and his organization join the fight to regain Cassius Clay's (Muhammad Ali) title as the Heavy Weight Boxing Champion of the World.

SCLC: Summary Of Ninth Annual Convention

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Alabama (AL), Birmingham, AL, Montgomery, AL, Selma, AL, Georgia (GA), Atlanta, GA, Massachusetts (MA), Boston, MA, Mississippi (MS), Greenwood, MS, VIETNAM, Washington, D.C., Virginia (VA), DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, Louisiana (LA), Tennessee (TN), Illinois (IL), Chicago, IL, Ohio (OH), Cleveland, OH, New Jersey (NJ), Pennsylvania (PA), Philadelphia, PA, Florida (FL), New York (NY), New York, NY, UNITED KINGDOM, London, England, FRANCE, CONGO / ZAIRE, SOUTH AFRICA, Johannesburg, South Africa, NIGERIA, ITALY, NORWAY, Oslo, Norway, California (CA), Los Angeles, CA, North Carolina (NC), South Carolina (SC), Brooklyn, NY

This summary of the SCLC's Ninth Annual Convention describes events that were instrumental in the formation of the organization. The document outlines the ongoing projects of the organization and offers proposals for future efforts.

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 Andrew Heiskell to MLK

Tuesday, July 25, 1967
New York, NY, Chicago, IL, Atlanta, GA, Detroit, MI, Boston, MA, Washington, D.C.

Mr. Heiskell extends an invitation for Dr. King to join Mayors of major cities and other national leaders in forming a coalition to address urban problems.

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 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.

Revolution in the Delta: Farm Hands Go on Strike

Mississippi (MS)

David R. Underhill discusses the strike of farm laborers in various Mississippi Delta cities. Underhill highlights strike procedures, methods, and locations.

Agenda for the Leadership Conference Executive Committee Meeting

Arnold Aronson sends the agenda for an upcoming meeting for the Executive Committee of the Leadership Conference. Important topics of discussion include the Civil Rights Act of 1967 and the Freedom Budget.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.