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Voter registration

To the Southern Christian Leadership Conference

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.

"The Negro and the American Dream," Excerpt from Address at the Annual Freedom Mass Meeting of the North Carolina State Conference of Branches of the NAACP

In this typed draft of his address, King shares his dream of a nation “where men of all races, colors, and creeds will live together as brothers” but warns that American racism has put the country’s international standing “at its lowest ebb.”1 He further recommends five ways that black people can continue “to remind America” of the dream: continue to challenge segregation, utilize the freedom blacks currently enjoy, obtain the ballot, “suffer and sacrifice” to achieve freedom, and use nonviolent method

From William Holmes Borders

The longtime pastor of Wheat Street Baptist Church, located on Atlanta's Auburn Avenue near Ebenezer Baptist Church, praises King's “leadership, imagination, consecration and insight.” Borders, leader of Atlanta's Triple L Movement against segregated buses, also reminds King that ongoing local struggles will require attention after the Prayer Pilgrimage.1

Dr. M. L. King, Jr.
309 South Jackson Street
Montgomery, Alabama

SCLC Press Release, "Dr. King Leaves Montgomery for Atlanta"

In the following press release, King explains that his decision to leave Montgomery was a response to pleas from his SCLC colleagues, and he links his move with the announcement that “a full scale assault will be made upon discrimination and segregation in all forms.” The news of King's relocation to Atlanta prompted Georgia governor Ernest Vandiver to vow that King would be kept under surveillance and prosecuted if he were “responsible for strife involving law violations.”1

From Roy Wilkins

This letter, in which Wilkins reminds King of his pledge to work in “close cooperation” with the NAACP on the issue of voter registration, arrived amidst charges of a “serious rift within Negro ranks.” An 8 January article in the Atlanta Constitution carried allegations from Georgia attorney general Eugene Cook that “NAACP leaders are opposed to King’s independent operation and want all integration and voter activity funneled through their organization.”1 The day after the article app

"Give Us the Ballot," Address Delivered at the Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom

Hoping to prod the federal government to fulfill the promise of the three-year-old Brown v. Board of Education decision, national civil rights leaders called for a rally on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.1 Bayard Rustin, Ella Baker, and Stanley Levison organized the Prayer Pilgrimage, which brought together cochairmen A.

"The Burning Truth in the South"

In the following article published in The Progressive, King predicts that “time will reveal that the students are learning lessons not contained in their textbooks.” 1 He places the sit-ins within the context of a historic and international drive for equality: “Young people have connected up with their own history—the slave revolts, the incomplete revolution of the Civil War; the brotherhood of colonial colored men in Africa and Asia.


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