Celebrating Black History Month: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

*Post written by James Wethington, library assistant of the University Archives and Special Collections.

These two letters have a long history: it was discovered by a student in History 323, Introduction to Archival Practice. Course instructor, Jennifer Greene, reference and archives librarian stated, “From a scale from one to ten with, I was at 55 with excitement. I was more excited knowing the student recognized the SCLC letterhead than the letter itself! That is why he pulled the letter out in the first place”.

This correspondence was between Skyview Acres, located in Sherman, New York, and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in Atlanta, Georgia.  SCLC was involved in the African-American Civil Rights Movements.  These two letters were sent on July 17th and June 23rd, 1963. Exactly, one month later, the March on Washington occurred, where King gave his “I Have a Dream” speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial and continued to fight for civil rights for African-Americans (The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica, n.d.).

It finally happened in 1964 when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law (Carson & Lewis, 2016). Only four years later, Dr. King was shot and killed at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4, 1968 (Carson & Lewis, 2016). Though his death was untimely, Dr. King left a long-lasting legacy and message for future generations to hear.


Carson, C., & Lewis, D. L. (2016, January 29). Martin Luther King, Jr. Retrieved February 13, 2017, from https://www.britannica.com/biography/Martin-Luther-King-Jr

The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. (n.d.). March on Washington. Retrieved February 13, 2017, from https://www.britannica.com/event/March-on-Washington

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