(1868-1963) - Typewritten signed letter on
"The Crisis" letterhead concerning an upcoming speech. DuBois, a
Harvard-educated Ph.D. black scholar and civil rights activist, opposed the
more conciliatory ideas of Booker T. Washington. In 1910, he joined the
newly-formed NAACP becoming the editor of its publication, "The Crisis".
1922 NAACP ANTI-LYNCHING POSTER - from a
fundraising campaign to pass legislation in order to make the
act of lynching illegal--it was not yet on the books as a crime!
MALCOLM X WRITES TO ELIJAH MUHAMMAD
In this compellingly transparent letter, personally typed and
signed, Malcolm X speaks with religious fervor of his plans, progress and
perceived failures. The future Civil Rights icon reports that the number of
followers is rising in Harlem, and that he is now prepared to set up a
Temple in California. Malcolm also confides his ongoing marital problems to
his "Beloved Leader and Teacher".
HISTORICALLY IMPORTANT 1964 MALCOLM X LETTER TO AUTHOR ALEX HALEY -
Penned in Conakry, Guinea, Malcolm X was on what became his final
journey to the African Continent as head of his Organization of
Afro-American Unity (OAAU), consulting with most of the now iconic leaders
of the newly-emerging African nations. This remarkable letter was written to
author Alex Haley with whom Malcolm was collaborating on the latter's
autobiography, and mentions wanting to "huddle" with Haley on the
accuracy of the new book. Finally, the great Civil Rights protagonist says
he hopes to visit London and Paris on his way back to America, however he
was unsure whether he'd ever be allowed to leave the U.S. again. Tragically,
Malcolm X was killed just three and a half months later in New York City.
MEDGAR EVERS (1925-1963) - Mississippi
Civil Rights activist who spoke out boldly for fair-employment opportunities
for blacks, desegregation of public accommodations, and the right
to vote for African Americans. This made him a target for the Ku-Klux-Klan and other
segregationists. After several prior attempts on his life, he was shot
and killed outside his home by a white supremacist, Byron de la Beckwith (James
RARE 1962 MEDGAR EVERS LETTER -
Field Secretary in Jackson, Evers writes to Gloster B. Current, the Branch
Director of the NAACP, enclosing photographs taken at the 10th Annual
Regional Conference. Current was the very last person Evers saw just before
he was tragically slain.
DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.
WRITES A "CENSORED" NOTE FROM THE BIRMINGHAM JAIL
On April 12, 1963, Dr. King
and seven other Civil Rights leaders, were arrested for demonstrating without a
permit although they had applied for one, and sentenced to five days after
leading a Good Friday protest march disobeying a temporary restraining order.
However, it wasn't until October 30, 1967, that the Supreme Court in a 5-4
decision, upheld the 1963 convictions sending all seven marchers to jail to
serve their original sentences. Dr. King, however, was released one day early,
to avoid a planned mass rally to celebrate his release.
THE ASSASSINATION OF DR. MARTIN
LUTHER KING, JR.
In the midst of organizing a Poor People’s
Campaign set for April 20 in Washington, Dr. King made an unscheduled detour to
Memphis, Tennessee, to lead a march in support of a strike by city sanitation
workers--a march which ended in a riot--as some 150 blacks broke away and began
smashing windows, looting stores, and attacking police. Almost 150 buildings
were set afire, and 4,000 National Guardsmen were called in to stem the
violence. With 50 or more injuries, and some 300 persons arrested, the great
Civil Rights leader now felt he should remain in the beleaguered city to help
use his influence and message of non-violence to help calm the situation. On
April 3, he addressed 2,000 at the Mason Temple Church, making one of his most
memorable speeches. Mindful of the many threats made on his life, King bravely
said: “Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days
ahead, but it really doesn’t matter to me now, because I’ve been to the
mountaintop. I won’t mind.” “Like anybody, I’d like to live a long life.
Longevity has its place but I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do
God’s will and He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over.
And I’ve seen the Promised Land.” “So I’m happy tonight. I’m not worried about
anything. I’m not fearing any man. ‘Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming
of the Lord.’”
Shortly before 6 P.M. the following day, while
standing on the balcony outside his room at the Lorraine Hotel, a single gunshot
rang out, and Martin Luther King, Jr. was dead. James Earl Ray, the assassin,
was captured two months later, pleaded guilty to the heinous crime, and was
sentenced to 99 years in prison. A House Committee later concluded that “there
is a likelihood” that Ray murdered Dr. King “as a result of a conspiracy” with
unindicted conspirators. Hundreds of riots in many cities broke out as a result
of the assassination. At the funeral, some 300,000 people marched behind King’s
casket as it was carried through the streets of Atlanta.
DEATH OF ROSA PARKS--OFFICIAL
FUNERAL PROGRAM -
Louise McCauley on February 4, 1913, in Tuskegee, Alabama. In 1943,
Rosa joined the NAACP and in the early 1950s she helped try to integrate
Montgomery, Alabama’s public library so black children could have access to
books. Her major moment in the limelight of history came on December 1,
1955, when she refused to surrender her seat to a white male passenger on the
orders of a Montgomery bus driver. Rosa's brave act triggered a wave of
protest four days later that reverberated throughout the country. Black
people in Montgomery and sympathizers from other races organized and promoted
a boycott of the city bus line that lasted 381 days. Dr. Martin Luther King,
Jr. became the spokesperson for the Montgomery Bus Boycott teaching
nonviolence to all who participated. In later years, Mrs. Parks founded
institutions to help children recognize and reach their full potential, and
to teach others about black history. She authored four books, and was awarded
numerous distinguished prizes including the NAACP’s Spingarn Medal, and the
Congressional Gold Medal of Honor.
ANGELA Y. DAVIS (1944- ) is a
Civil rights activist, educator and writer who born in Birmingham, Alabama.
She graduated magna cum laude from Brandeis University and earned her M.A.
from the University of California at San Diego. In 1967 Davis joined the
Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Black Panther
Party. In 1969, she came to national attention after being removed from her
teaching position at UCLA owing to her social activism as well as her
membership in the Communist Party, USA. Then allegedly, she became involved in
a kidnapping attempt to liberate three prisoners at San Quentin from
the Marin County Civic Center. Davis was accused of planning the incident
and supplying a gun that killed four people. She was placed on the FBI's Ten
Most Wanted List and was the subject of an intense police hunt that drove
her underground. Angela was finally arrested in 1970, and spent 18 months in
prison. A huge international “Free Angela Davis” campaign led to her
acquittal on June 4, 1972, by an all-white jury.
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