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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SCLC Seventh Annual Convention

Tuesday, September 24, 1963
Atlanta, GA, Virginia (VA), Florida (FL), Ohio (OH), Alabama (AL), Tennessee (TN), Richmond, VA, Washington, D.C.

This pamphlet advertises the 1963 Southern Christian Leadership Conference Annual Convention. It contains detailed information about the event, including members of the planning committee and scheduled presenters.

Agenda for the SCLC State and Local Leaders

Friday, February 2, 1962
Atlanta, GA

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.

Letter from Rabbi Gerald A. Goldman to MLK

Friday, March 1, 1968
New York (NY)

Rabbi Gerald A. Goldman invites Dr. King to be a guest at the West Side Peace Committee Conference.

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.

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.

SCLC Tenth Anniversary Convention

Monday, August 14, 1967
Atlanta, GA

A program outlining the course of events for the 10th Anniversary Convention of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Blue Spiral Notebook

North Carolina (NC)

Contained in this notebook is a draft of Dr. King's statement to Judge James E. Webb following his arrest during the Rich's Magnolia Tea Room Sit-In. There is also an outline of a letter to female students who were arrested during the sit-in. On other pages a child practices handwriting.

Address to AFL-CIO New York City District 65

New York (NY), Montgomery, AL, Birmingham, AL, Alabama (AL), Selma, AL, Los Angeles, CA, California (CA)

Dr. King speaks to the District 65 AFL-CIO to address the importance of job opportunities in the northern and southern regions of the United States. He explains that the labor movement must stay active in order to gain civil rights and equal pay for African American workers.

The Central Presbyterian Church Letter to MLK

Monday, August 1, 1966
Denver, CO, JORDAN

Elmer Elsea enlightens Dr. King on how his involvement with the previous Holy Week brought joy and blessings. Mr. Elsea discovers Dr. King will be returning to the Holy Land of Jerusalem for the Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom. Mr. Elsea encourages Dr. King to utilize Citexco Tours to conduct his expedition.

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.

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.

A Statement to the South and the Nation

HUNGARY, Mississippi (MS), Atlanta, GA

The Southern Leaders Conference on Transportation and Non-Violent Integration issued this statement to the nation regarding the unresolved problems of civil rights. The leaders asked for all Negroes, particularly those in the South, to assert their human dignity and to seek justice by rejecting all injustices.

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.

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."

Statement from American Jewish Congress Regarding the Bundy School-Decentralization Plan

Wednesday, February 28, 1968
New York (NY), New York, NY

Murray A. Gordon, a New York lawyer and national vice president of the American Jewish Congress, endorses the Bundy School-Decentralization plan. Mr. Gordon believes that the reform is essential to good education and assures teachers that the plan will not violate their rights.

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.

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.

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.

Telegram from MLK to Judy Silver & Gordon Geller

Atlanta, GA, Ohio (OH)

Dr. King salutes the Cincinnati Committee of Concern for Soviet Jewry for their efforts to end discrimination against the Jewish people of the U.S.S.R.

Letter from Sarvajanik Kalyan Samiti to MLK

Friday, June 25, 1965
INDIA, Tokyo, Japan, NEPAL, Berlin, Germany, New York (NY)

The Indian organization, Sarvajanik Kalyan Samiti, expresses admiration of Dr. King's heroic struggle for civil rights in the US, along with his application of Mahatma Gandhi's methods. A bronze bust of Gandhi is offered as a gift of appreciation and a request made for placement of the statue in a children's park.

Recent Court Guidelines Concerning Demonstrations

Tuesday, April 5, 1966
Mississippi (MS), Alabama (AL), Birmingham, AL, Montgomery, AL

This memorandum outlines recent legislation that permits "street demonstrations as an exercise of freedom of speech and of assembly." Specific court cases in the state of Alabama are also mentioned throughout the text.

The Massachusetts Review: A Legacy of Creative Protest

Friday, September 7, 1962
Mississippi (MS), Albany, GA, Montgomery, AL, Massachusetts (MA), Georgia (GA), Alabama (AL)

Dr. King writes of the influence of Henry David Thoreau's essay on the duty of civil disobedience in forming his belief that non-cooperation with evil is a moral obligation. He cites lunch-counter sit-ins, freedom rides, and the bus boycott as evidence that Thoreau’s thinking is still alive. This article appeared in a special 1962 issue of The Massachusetts Review commemorating the centennial of Thoreau’s death.

"Dr. King Denounces Write-In Plot"

Monday, November 2, 1964
Atlanta, GA, Washington, D.C.

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.

Italian Weekly Requests MLK Views on Gandhi

Tuesday, January 3, 1967
INDIA, ITALY, Atlanta, GA, New York, NY

The Italian weekly magazine, Mondo Domani, plans to publish a lengthy article on Gandhi. The editors wish to include Dr. King's response to several questions on nonviolence, outlined in this letter from their United States Representative Enzo Viscusi.

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."

Speech to the Synagogue Council of America

Sunday, December 5, 1965
New York (NY), CHINA

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.

A Knock At Midnight

Sunday, August 9, 1964
Atlanta, GA, New York (NY), New York, NY, New Jersey (NJ), Mississippi (MS), Alabama (AL), Birmingham, AL

In a tape-recorded address to the Riverside Church in New York City, Dr. King compares the civil rights struggle to a parable from St. Luke. His sermon specifically tackles contemporary social issues such as segregation, discrimination, and the philosophy of nonviolence. In addition, Dr. King explores the role of the church in dealing with such problems.

Statement from the Eisenhower Administration to the NAACP

Sunday, June 26, 1955
New Jersey (NJ), Atlantic City, NJ, Washington, D.C.

In an address to the NAACP, Vice President Richard Nixon discusses the reasons that progress has been made in the Eisenhower Administration and the goals that the organization needs to continue working toward.

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.