The first African American to be elected to Congress from Michigan, Charles C. Diggs made significant contributions to the struggle for civil rights through his business and political ties. In an April 1956 telegram to Martin Luther King, Diggs commended the Montgomery Improvement Association president for his “cherished leadership in the fight for equality,” that he described as an “indestructible monument which will defy the ravages of time” (Papers 3:218).
On 5 June King received a phone call from presidential aide Rocco Siciliano agreeing to his 29 May request for a conference between Eisenhower and civil rights leaders.1 Four days later King met with Siciliano and other administration officials in Washington to establish the parameters of the meeting and to determine who would join him and A. Philip Randolph at the White House.
In this reply to King's 30 August letter, Nixon comments on the Civil Rights Bill of 1957, which Eisenhower signed on 9 September.
The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.
530 South Union Street
Dear Dr. King:
It was most thoughtful of you to write as you did on August 30.
On 30 August following a record-breaking filibuster by South Carolina senator Strom Thurmond, the Senate approved the country’s first major civil rights legislation since 1875.1 King advises Nixon that the Civil Rights Bill of 1957, which had been weakened by the Senate, “is far better than no bill at all,” and conveys his hope that the president would not veto it.2 Nixon replied on 17 September.
On the eve of the Prayer Pilgrimage to Washington, D.
More than three hundred people testified before the platform and resolutions committee during six days of hearings at the 1956 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. Reacting to eventual nominee Adlai Stevenson’s casual suggestion that the Democratic platform should endorse the Brown v. Board of Education decision, southern segregationists argued vehemently in opposition. Roy Wilkins of the NAACP and labor leaders George Meany, Walter Reuther, and A. Philip Randolph were among those who testified in favor of a strong civil rights plank.
On 30 January the SCLC executive committee gathered at Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist Church to finalize plans for the Crusade for Citizenship, a campaign “to double the number of Negroes who vote in the South.” At a press conference following the meeting, SCLC leaders announced that the Crusade would commence on 12 February with simultaneous mass rallies in twenty-one southern cities.1 In the following memorandum, King clarifies the objectives of the Crusade.