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From Howard Thurman to Martin Luther King, Jr., 1966 May 13

 undefined — OKRA: 660513-001

Scope and Contents of the Subseries

From the Series:

The subseries contains correspondence between Martin Luther King, Jr. and various individuals and organizations from 1953 to 1968. There are letters, telegrams, greeting cards, carbon copies, postcards, invitations, and hate mail. The correspondence is primarily professional often accompanied by enclosures, with few personal letters. Among the topics discussed are civil rights, discrimination, SCLC activities, politics, equal employment, education, housing, passive resistance, poverty, religion, riots, voter registration, the Vietnam War, and other social issues. There are also requests for speeches, information, visits, assistance, critiques of other writers, autographs, reprints of his work, and other invitations. Some letters praise King’s activities, offer encouragement, convey donations, and congratulate him on the Nobel Prize while others are critical of his positions or overtly hostile. In the outgoing correspondence, there are both carbon copies and handwritten drafts of letter from King and his secretaries. The subjects discussed in these communications include thanks for contributions, responses to requests, non-violence, status of the movement, fundraising appeals, his stance on the war in Vietnam, and personal messages.

Within this portion of the subseries, there is correspondence with civil rights activists, religious leaders, and pacifists. Correspondents include Fred Shuttlesworth, Benjamin Spock, Gardner C. Taylor, Norman Thomas, Howard Thurman, Harry Wachtel, Roy Wilkins, Harris Wofford, Malcolm X, and Whitney Young. These papers discuss Dr. King’s work, the civil rights movement, the Vietnam War, religion, poverty, and the activities of various organizations

Many of the items in this subseries have annotations written on them, presumably by King’s secretaries. There are terms indicating the topic of the correspondence, stamps indicating the date of receipt, directions on how to respond, shorthand passages, underlining, circles, check marks, and numbers. These annotations are written in an unknown hand unless otherwise noted in the item description. There are some instances where King himself wrote instructions on the letters and they are described accordingly. In addition, notes about a letter’s content were occasional attached by the staff as well.


  • Creation: 1966 May 13

Language of Materials

From the Series:

Materials are in English, French, German, and Japanese.

Physical Description

autograph letter signed, 1p

Restrictions on Access

Access is restricted to digital surrogates available in Archives and Special Collections Department of the Robert W. Woodruff Library.


From the Series: 7.5 Linear feet

Physical Description

autograph letter signed, 1p

Repository Details

Part of the Robert W. Woodruff Library of the Atlanta University Center, Inc. Repository


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