Dr. King's speech at the First Annual Institute of Non-Violence and Social Change addresses many issues regarding the African American. The most recurring issues are of obtaining and maintaining freedom, equality and personal dignity.
The September 1966 issue of Commentary, a monthly publication of the American Jewish Committee, features Bayard Rustin's article "Black Power and Coalition Politics." The article discusses topics such as black power, the liberal labor civil rights coalition, the strategies of Marcus Garvey, W. E. B. Du Bois, and Booker T. Washington, and A. Philip Randolph's Freedom Budget. Rustin states that although black power is viewed as a "psychological rejection of white supremacy" those advocating for black power are seeking a "new black establishment."
Dr. King gave this speech at the Berlin Freedom Festival in Berlin, West Germany, in memorial to the recently assassinated President John F. Kennedy. Dr. King reflects on the personality, achievements and enormous influence Kennedy had on the world. He highlights Kennedy's commitment to international human rights, which included recognition of Negro rights, and his leadership in concluding the atmospheric nuclear test ban treaty.
In this letter, Vice President of the United States of America, Hubert Humphrey, writes to Dr. King to thank him for his statements promoting nonviolence in the crisis situation in Detroit, Michigan.
Edith Lerrigo writes with concern regarding the support of the "Crisis and Commitment" call by several civil rights leaders. Lerrigo endorses Dr. King's decision to refuse his signatory on the document supporting the call, stating that this act "should have been sufficient to give pause to groups like the YWCA before jumping on the moderate bandwagon."
Don Rothenberg, the Assistant to the Publisher of Ramparts Magazine, sent this letter to Dr. and Mrs. King with an advance copy of the January issue. The magazine, which was associated with the New Left, reported on the napalming of Vietnamese children in the war. Upon reading this, Dr. King was moved to become more vocal against the Vietnam War, which he later did, starting in April of 1967 with his "Beyond Vietnam" speech.
Joan Daves, literary agent to Dr. King, wrote Dr. King to gain insight on his preference for a sentence revision to appear in his book "Why We Cant Wait."
The Greater Atlanta Council on Human Relations outlines demographics of the Metro-Atlanta area in 1960. The areas of focus include population distribution, sanitation, and housing conditions.
Rabbi I. Usher Kirshblum writes Dr. King to share an article he wrote in the "Jewish Center of Kew Garden Hills Bulletin." The article references the expelling of Congressman Adam Clayton Powell and criticizes the African American response towards his defense. The author states, "If I were a Negro I would not waste my time in defending Powell's wrong acts but would rather speak of the many good acts he performed." Rabbi Kirshblum goes on to praise the views of men like Dr. King and Rev. Roy Wilkins, while rejecting those of Stokely Carmichael.
A young male civil rights activist and participant in demonstrations experienced police brutality after he was targeted for his involvement in the Monroe Race Riot story. E. A. Johnson provides Mrs. Cotton with the legal details of the case surrounding the young man.
The president of Phelps-Stokes Fund writes to encourage Dr. King to meet annually with other Negro leaders for a discussion on their differences of opinion.
Mrs. Stinson of Pennsylvania writes Mr. Wilkins suggesting that all of the major civil rights organizations merge together to form one organization. She believes this will create a unified front in the fight for racial equality. In addition, Mrs. Stinson provides a list of suggestions this new organization could implement to facilitate change.
The City of Birmingham submitted this "bill of injunction" to the Circuit Court of Alabama to try to stop the sit ins, boycott pickets, and marches led by Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights, SCLC, and others in April of 1963. After the injunction was granted and served April 10th, they continued their civil disobedience and many more were arrested. From solitary confinement, Dr. King then wrote "Letter from a Birmingham Jail."
Dana McLean Greeley asks for Dr. King's endorsement of a conference on religion and peace to be held in Washington, DC, and invites Dr. King to serve on the Executive Committee of the conference. Greeley also recounts his time spent in Selma and mentions that he will be in Montgomery soon.