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Morehouse College Martin Luther King, Jr. Collection: Subseries 1.1: Correspondence: General L-R

Identifier: 0000-0000-0000-0131c

Scope and Contents of the Subseries

The subseries contains correspondence between Martin Luther King, Jr. and various individuals and organizations from 1950 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 leaders, academics, and prominent politicians. Correspondents include Thurgood Marshall, Benjamin E. Mays, Floyd B. McKissick, James Meredith, George McGovern, Walter Mondale, Daniel P. Moynihan, President Richard M. Nixon, William Stuart Nelson, Adam Clayton Powell, A. Philip Randolph, Jackie Robinson, Nelson A. Rockefeller, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Bayard Rustin. These papers discuss Dr. King’s work, discrimination, the civil rights movement, government policies, and the activities of various organizations. In addition, there is correspondence with literary agent Maria F. Rodell and editor Hermine Popper about King’s early books.

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: 1950-1968

Language of Materials

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

Restrictions on Access

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

Restrictions on Use

All documents in this collection either are protected by copyright or are the property Morehouse College, and/or the copyright holder as appropriate. Permission to consult the Morehouse College Martin Luther King, Jr. Collection does not automatically include permission to publish from the Collection. Permission to publish or quote from previously unpublished materials or from materials under copyright must first be obtained from the copyright holder. Requests for permission to publish any of Dr. King’s copyrighted speeches, sermons, books or other writings, in whole or in part, shall be addressed to Intellectual Properties Management, Inc., 449 Auburn Ave., Atlanta, Georgia, 30312.


8.5 Linear feet

Arrangement of the Subseries

The subseries is arranged alphabetically.

Because of the large size of this subseries, it is described in four separate sections: A-D; E-K; L-R; and S-Z.

Separated Materials

Photographs separated to appropriate housing in Series 13: Photographs and Series 14: Artwork.

Morehouse College Martin Luther King, Jr. Collection
Morehouse College Martin Luther King, Jr. Collection, Subseries 1.1: Correspondence: General L-R
Finding aid prepared by Bridget T. Lerette
2009 February
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

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


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