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Brown v. Board of Education

King delivers "A Realistic Look at Race Relations" at NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund banquet at New York's Waldorf-Astoria Hotel

King speaks on “A Realistic Look at Race Relations” at an NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund banquet at the Waldorf-Astoria celebrating the second anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka.

Smith, Kelly Miller

As a social gospel minister, Kelly Miller Smith believed in using his pastorate to promote activism. Smith participated in the founding meeting of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in 1957, and co-founded the Nashville Christian Leadership Council (NCLC) a year later. In a 1961 telegram Smith described Martin Luther King as the “embodiment of the message you bear” (Smith, 19 December 1961).

Marshall, Thurgood

As an attorney fighting to secure equality and justice through the courts, Thurgood Marshall helped build the legal foundation for Martin Luther King’s challenges to segregation. On 6 February 1958, King wrote Marshall to express his gratitude for Marshall’s efforts in the Montgomery bus boycott: “We will remain eternally grateful to you and your staff for the great work you have done for not only the Negro in particular but American Democracy in general” (Papers 4:360).


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