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Student movements

To George Meany

King, labor leader A. Philip Randolph, and Catholic priest John LaFarge invite AFL-CIO president George Meany to join them as chairmen of the Youth March for Integrated Schools and to endorse a petition to Congress and the White House demanding an end to school segregation.1 In his 16 January reply, Meany agreed to sign the petition but declined to co-chair the march, explaining that he would “be unable to take an active part in the committee's work.”

To Gardner C. Taylor

King seeks Taylor’s support for the Youth March for Integrated Schools, a demonstration in Washington, D.C., which King describes as an “appeal to the nation for the peaceful and forthright integration of public schools.’’1 In a 6 September telegram Taylor, who had hosted King for a 1956 MIA benefit, pledged his continuing support: “No public position [is] as important to me as our struggle. I am with you.”

From William Lusk, Marjorie Gettleman, Naomi Friedman, and Sheila Navarick

Four student activists request King's endorsement of an "Enroll for Freedom” campaign designed to encourage students and youth to participate in the civil rights struggle and to ‘‘accept the challenge and responsibility of building a really free America.” King's reply has not been located, but King may have agreed to serve as honorary chairman of the “Enroll for Freedom” campaign.1

Dear Reverend King,

From the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee

At a packed public hearing on 25 October, DeKalb County judge J. Oscar Mitchell declared King’s involvement in the Rich’s sit-in a violation of his probation and sentenced him to four months hard labor at the Georgia State Prison in Reidsville. An SCLC press release issued the following day reported that Mitchell’s decision “struck the hundreds of King supporters like a bombshell. Mrs. King wept quietly, Dr. King, Sr. was visibly moved; many of the coeds of the Atlanta University system burst into tears.

Address at Youth March for Integrated Schools in Washington, D.C., Delivered by Coretta Scott King

At the Lincoln Memorial Coretta Scott King delivered these remarks on behalf of her husband to ten thousand people who had marched down Constitution Avenue in support of school integration.1 During the march Harry Belafonte led a small integrated contingent of students to the White House to meet the president. They were met at the gate by a guard who informed them that neither the president nor any of his assistants would be available.

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