Martin Luther King, Jr. States the Goal of the Civil Rights Movement: “Full integration of the Negro into all aspects of American life.”

And the stakes: “Without your moral support we would be caught in a dungeon of despair without knowing that many people all over the nation are supporting us in our struggle. By aiding us…you are telling the world that the rights of Negroes cannot be trampled in any community without impairing the rights of every other American.”

The year 1964 was the culmination of Martin Luther King’s campaigns strike down segregation, and bring the civil rights struggle to the attention of the international community. The battle against segregation was won on July 2, 1964, when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the epochal Civil Rights Act, with King and other...

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Martin Luther King, Jr. States the Goal of the Civil Rights Movement: “Full integration of the Negro into all aspects of American life.”

And the stakes: “Without your moral support we would be caught in a dungeon of despair without knowing that many people all over the nation are supporting us in our struggle. By aiding us…you are telling the world that the rights of Negroes cannot be trampled in any community without impairing the rights of every other American.”

The year 1964 was the culmination of Martin Luther King’s campaigns strike down segregation, and bring the civil rights struggle to the attention of the international community. The battle against segregation was won on July 2, 1964, when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the epochal Civil Rights Act, with King and other civil rights leaders present. It was a stunning achievement to see segregation, well entrenched just a few years earlier, fall so quickly after King’s involvement. The international community had taken note a few months earlier, when on January 30 eight members of the Swedish Parliament nominated King for the Nobel Peace Prize. Following on the heels of King’s nomination by the American Friends Service Committee, this nomination from Sweden virtually assured King would be awarded the prize. He was in October, and accepted it in December. The civil rights movement was no longer just a local struggle.

Textile executive David F. Seiferheld was both a donor to King’s organization and an enemy of King’s nemesis, J. Edgar Hoover (who undoubtedly knew of his support of King’s work). Seiferheld was also treasurer of the Emergency Rescue Committee during the World War II, which aided prominent writers, artists and intellectuals to flee Nazi-controlled Europe.

Typed letter signed, on his Southern Christian Leadership Conference stationery, Atlanta, July 31, 1964, just weeks after the Civil Rights Act, to Seiferheld, thanking him, eloquently stating his movement’s goals, and reflecting on the importance of moral as well as financial support for the cause. “This letter comes to express my deep appreciation to you for your generous contribution of $100. 00 to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Such moral and financial support are of inestimable value for the continuance of our humble efforts. Without your dollars for freedom, the Conference would be unable to work effectively toward its goal of the full integration of the Negro into all aspects of American life. Your contribution will help our work in communities all across the South. At present, SCLC has staff members in more than twenty communities seeking through nonviolent direct action and voter registration campaigns to break down the barriers of racial segregation and discrimination.

“Without your moral support we would be caught in a dungeon of despair without knowing that many people all over the nation are supporting us in our struggle. By aiding us in this significant way, you are telling the world that the rights of Negroes cannot be trampled in any community without impairing the rights of every other American. Thank you again for making our financial problem a little less burdensome. We are enclosing an official receipt for your contribution.” A remarkably eloquent statement, inspired by a $100 contribution.

Good content letters of King have become scarce of late, this being our first in some time.

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