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Student movements

To Lottie Mae Pugh

On 8 November Pugh, a student at the Booker T. Washington School in Suffolk, Virginia, had written to King about her wish “to work in an Orphan Home” after completing her high school education. She wanted “to know what qualities would you say one would have to possess in order to attain success in this field.” She continued: “I admire the success you have won in your chosen field and that has prompted me to seek guidance from you.”

Miss Lottie Mae Pugh
P.O. Box 854
Suffolk, Virginia

Dear Miss Pugh:

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

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

From Stanley D. Levison

Levison reports on the progress of the Committee to Defend Martin Luther King and the Struggle for Freedom in the South, a legal defense group formed in response to King's Alabama perjury indictment.1 He also decries the recent statement of Thurgood Marshall, head of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, that “the first stage of demonstrations should be ended” in favor of courtroom challenges.

Dear Martin,

From Ella J. Baker

Baker updates King and Abernathy on plans for a Conference to assess the state of the student movement and to coordinate desegregation efforts.1 She reports on a conversation she had with Glenn Smiley and Douglas Moore, who “agreed that the meeting should be youth centered, and that the adults attending would serve in an advisory capacity, and should mutually agree to ‘speak only when asked to do so.’”

To Dwight D. Eisenhower

On 8 March, following two weeks of student-led protests against segregation, Montgomery police arrested thirty-seven demonstrators near the Alabama State College campus.1 In the telegram below, King warns Eisenhower: “Lest bloodshed stains the streets of America we ask that the American people through you be made aware of the brutal and flagrant violation of constitutional rights.” He requests that Eisenhower instruct “the Attorney General to take immediate action ...

From Harris Wofford

Civil rights attorney Harris Wofford offers “sharp criticism” of an appeal for funds that appeared in the 29 March New York Times.1 Placed by the Committee to Defend Martin Luther King and the Struggle for Freedom in the South, the advertisement described King as “the one man who, more than any other, symbolizes the new spirit now sweeping the South.” Wofford suggests that the fund-raising effort should focus on student activists and argues that “the very name of the committee is a mistake and

From John Malcolm Patterson

Alabama governor John Patterson demands that King publish a retraction of the 'false and defamatory" statements in a 29 March 1960 fund-raising appeal titled "Heed Their Rising Voices." 1 The text of the advertisement detailed the conditions that King and student protesters faced and criticized "the Southern violators" who "have answered Dr. King's peaceful protests with intimidation and violence."

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