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.

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.

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 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.

Essay - MLK Entitled "The Bravest Man I Ever Met"

Dr. King's essay, entitled "The Bravest Man I Ever Met," profiles Norman Thomas, a prominent Socialist.

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 George W. Chivers to MLK

Saturday, August 20, 1966
Pennsylvania (PA), Philadelphia, PA, Georgia (GA), Atlanta, GA, Alabama (AL)

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.

Program from The Poor People's Campaign Committee for Nassau County

Dr. King delivers an address for the Poor People's Campaign Committee of Nassau County.

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.

Two Noted Rights Workers Added to Staff of SCEF

New Orleans, LA, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

This article explains Ella J. Baker and John R. Salter were added to the New Orleans based Southern Christian Educational Fund shortly before its headquarters were raided by more than 100 policemen on October 4th.

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.

King's Way Hurts Rights Movement

Washington, D.C., Massachusetts (MA), Illinois (IL), Chicago, IL

Mr. White, author of this article, argues that the political fallout from Dr. King's stance on America's involvement in Vietnam hinders the goals of the Civil Rights Movement.

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."

Methodist Church Statement on Vietnam Conflict

VIETNAM, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, CHINA, Washington, D.C.

The Board of Christian Social Concerns of the Methodist Church releases a statement regarding the conflict in Vietnam and possible outcomes and solutions. The board urges steps leading to a withdrawal of US forces from Vietnam.

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 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.

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.

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 Helen Harrington to MLK with Poems

Thursday, February 8, 1968
Iowa (IA)

Helen Harrington writes to Dr. King to offer him the use of her poems in his writing and speeches. The poems, attached, are entitled 'Color Book,' 'Viet Nam,' and 'Two Prisons.' In a post script, Harrington urges Dr. King to run for president on an independent ticket, provided a peace candidate is not nominated by the Republican or Democratic parties, adding that she wants no more of President Johnson.

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.

Letter to the Citizens' Crusade Against Poverty from Richard W. Boone

Monday, August 29, 1966
Washington, D.C., New York (NY), New York, NY

Richard W. Boone provides the officers and vice chairmen of the Citizens' Crusade Against Poverty with the forthcoming meeting dates and attendance card.

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.

"Outrage in Alabama"

Sunday, May 5, 1963
New York (NY), New York, NY, Alabama (AL), Birmingham, AL, Maryland (MD), Baltimore, MD, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

The Southern Christian Leadership Conference reprinted the article, "Outrage in Alabama," which was originally printed in The New York Times. The article describes violent acts against civil rights demonstrators discussing the flaws within the legal system.

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.

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."

Pamphlet About the Black Panther Party

Wednesday, June 1, 1966
Alabama (AL), New York, NY, Birmingham, AL, Chicago, IL, Boston, MA, Selma, AL, Los Angeles, CA

This pamphlet contains historical and contextual references to the Black Panther Party. It also includes a speech by John Hulett and an interview of Stokely Carmichael highlighting the political and social movements occurring in Lowndes County, Alabama.

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.

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 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 James Bevel on the Spring Mobilization Committee

Cleveland, OH, Ohio (OH), New York, NY, New York (NY), VIETNAM, San Francisco, CA, California (CA), Missouri (MO), Baltimore, MD, Philadelphia, PA, Maryland (MD), Chicago, IL, Illinois (IL), CANADA, Washington (WA)

James Bevel, national director of the Spring Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam, offers insight into the purpose of the committee. The committee focuses on launching two mass demonstrations to stop the war, with the goal of "seeking to stimulate increased activity everywhere."