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Martin Luther King, Jr. - Arrests

Marshall, Burke

Burke Marshall was head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division under Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, serving from January 1961 through December 1964. Martin Luther King regularly called and wired Marshall for assistance. John Lewis, head of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and other civil rights leaders were on a first name basis with Marshall. Wyatt Tee Walker, executive director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), woke Marshall at 1:00 A.M. to inform him of King’s arrest during the 1963 Birmingham Campaign.

Vandiver, Samuel Ernest, Jr.

Upon learning of Martin Luther King’s proposed move to Atlanta in December 1959, Georgia’s Governor, Ernest Vandiver, declared that King was disruptive to the state’s “good relations between the races” and vowed that the civil rights leader would be kept under surveillance. Vandiver claimed that “wherever M. L. King, Jr., has been there has followed in his wake a wave of crimes including stabbings, bombings, and inciting riots, barratry, destruction of property, and many others” (“Vandiver Says”).


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