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"Special Meeting with Doctors M. L. King, Jr. and Samuel W. Williams"

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Date: November 11, 1960

Location: Atlanta, Ga.?

Genre: Report

Topic: Student movements


On 2 November King met with Atlanta black college administrators to discuss the “coordination of student and adult leadership” in the local sit-in movement. The next day Benjamin Mays sent King these notes from the meeting, which was held at Atlanta University.

Present: Messrs. Rufus E. Clement, Frank Cunningham, M. L. King, Jr., Albert Manley, Benjamin E. Mays, A. A. McPheeters, Harry Richardson and Samuel W. Williams.1

The main concern is how to coordinate protests and sit-in demonstrations with academic excellence. Doctor King expressed appreciate for the conference and said that he is definitely concerned with what we are concerned with. He too is in favor of coordination of student and adult leadership.

All aspects of the protest movement were explored and there was a meeting of minds in several areas. The Reverend Mr. Williams suggested that there should be an over-all committee on which Dr. King would sit to advise on all future actions in the area of protest demonstrations. Doctor King raised the question as to the function of such a committee. “Will it be advisory or policy making?” It was clear the committee would be primarily advisory.

A new committee will be set up as an advisory committee with Rev. S. W. Williams and Dr. M. L. King, Jr. being requested to convene the new committee after the Council of Presidents have had an opportunity to talk with the students on the All University Center Committee on An Appeal for Human Rights. November 4, we will invite the students to meet with the Council of Presidents at 2:30 p.m. Next Monday, November 6, at 3 p.m. the new committee will meet.2

Meeting adjourned.

1. Clement served as president of Atlanta University (1937-1967), Cunningham as president of Morris Brown College (1958-1965), Manley as president of Spelman College (1953-1976), Mays as president of Morehouse College (1940-1967), McPheeters as dean of Academic Affairs at Clark College (1941-1962), Richardson was founding president of Atlanta’s Interdenominational Theological Center (1959-1969), and Samuel Williams was chairman of the Department of Philosophy and Religion at Morehouse College (1947-1970).

2. King met with the students and adult leaders on 7 November but plans to form an overall advisory committee stalled because of opposition from student and adult leaders (Minutes, Meeting on advisory committee on desegregation of lunch counters, 7 November 1960, and J. H. Calhoun, “Notes on conference with college presidents,” 8 December 1960).

Source: MLKP-MBU, Martin Luther King, Jr., Papers, 1954-1968, Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center, Boston University, Boston, Mass.

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