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A Tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr.

Stephen Richard Kerbs Exhibit Area
January 7, 2008
January 27, 2008

This exhibit commemorates the life of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., and is timed to coincide with the celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, January 21, 2008. The items in this display are drawn from materials in the Special Collections Research Center, which is located on the fifth floor of Lauinger Library. The featured documents come from three components comprising the Special Collections Research Center: the Georgetown University Archives, the Library's manuscripts collections, and the rare book collection.

In this exhibit, original letters from Rev. King to Rev. John LaFarge, S.J., a founder of the Catholic Interracial Council, are presented. In addition, some of the materials derive from the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 28, 1963, when Rev. King made his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. An article written by Georgetown University Professor Rev. Richard McSorley, S.J. provides first-hand details about Rev. King's funeral in Atlanta, which Fr. McSorley attended. Other items in this exhibit also document Rev. King's life.

 

Photograph of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. with Lisa Sergio

Lisa Sergio, a noted author, translator, and broadcaster, was the first female broadcaster in Europe. Dubbed the "Golden Voice of Rome," she opposed the Fascist regime of Benito Mussolini. Lisa Sergio's personal papers are preserved in the Special Collections Research Center in Georgetown University's Lauinger Library. Lisa Sergio Papers: Box 14 Folder 38.

Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954-63

by Taylor Branch
(New York: Simon and Schuster, c1988)
Bowen Collection, MI-11763
Volume one of a three-volume social history which won its author a Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award for General Non-Fiction.

Letter from Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. to Rev. John LaFarge, S.J.

Typed Letter Signed, dated April 24, 1962, from Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. to Rev. John LaFarge, S.J., outlining his idea for the newly developed Gandhi Society for Human Rights. The organization will be involved with non-violent activities in the American South, such as voter registration, education, and legal services. Rev. King invites Fr. LaFarge to join the group's board of directors. Fr. LaFarge (1880-1963), who served part of his priestly career in Southern Maryland, devoted much of his work to promoting civil rights. He participated in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 28, 1963, but died soon thereafter on November 25, 1963.

Rev. John LaFarge, S.J. Papers: Box 53 Folder 43

Telegram from Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., Roy Wilkins, and A. Philip Randolph to Rev. John LaFarge, S.J.

Telegram dated May 2, 1957, from Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., Roy Wilkins, and A. Philip Randolph to Rev. John LaFarge, S.J., of the Catholic Interracial Council, regarding the Prayer Pilgrimage to Washington, D.C. on May 17, 1957, honoring the third anniversary of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education outlawing segregation in public schools. In the telegram, Rev. King notes that the Prayer Pilgrimage is amassing widespread support. On May 17, 1957, Rev. King did, indeed, deliver a speech at the Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom in Washington, D.C., on the third anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision. Wilkins, a longtime leader in the Civil Rights Movement, served as Executive Director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) from 1955 until 1977. Randolph, founder of the Black Worker magazine, strove to ensure equality for blacks in trade unions, the federal government, and in the U.S. military.

Rev. John LaFarge, S.J. Papers: Box 6 Folder 13

Letter from Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Wyatt Tee Walker to Rev. John LaFarge, S.J.

Typed Letter Signed, dated June 28, 1962, from Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and Wyatt Tee Walker, Executive Director of the SCLC, to Rev. John LaFarge, S.J., regarding the final printing of the Second Emancipation Petition. Rev. King thanks Fr. LaFarge for participating in the project. Written on SCLC letterhead, the letter is addressed to Fr. LaFarge at America magazine, where he worked as an editor. Rev. King had become head of the Southern Leaders Conference, the forerunner to SCLC, on February 14, 1957.

Rev. John LaFarge, S.J. Papers: Box 17 Folder 10

Button from March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom

Button from March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, August 28, 1963. On that day, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. made his famous "I Have a Dream" speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. to an estimated 200,000 people.

Lisa Sergio Papers: Box 2 Folder 1

The Day They Marched

Printed Program: The Day They Marched. Edited by Doris E. Saunders. Introduction by Lerone Bennett, Jr. Designed by Herbert Temple.
(Chicago: Johnson Publishing Company Inc., 1963).
This publication was created to provide a written and visual record of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

Lisa Sergio Papers: Box 2 Folder 1

Map of the March on Washington

Map of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 28, 1963.

Lisa Sergio Papers Box 2 Folder 1

List of Speakers for the March on Washington

List of speakers for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 28, 1963. The event was opened by Marian Anderson's singing of the National Anthem, and Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his famous speech towards the end of the program.

Lisa Sergio Papers: Box 2 Folder 1

"The King Funeral: A Sad Day in Atlanta"

"The King Funeral: A Sad Day in Atlanta" by Richard McSorley, S.J., The Hoya, May 2, 1968 

Richard T. McSorley, S.J. (1914-2002) began teaching philosophy and theology at Georgetown in 1961. He was active in the peace movement, in working to end racial segregation, and in establishing Catholic Worker communities. Director of the Center for Peace Studies at Georgetown until his death, he authored several books and hundreds of columns and articles on peace and social justice.

Fr. McSorley arrived in Atlanta on the evening of April 7, 1968, and wrote this account of "the sorrow and inspiration that blended together during the funeral of Dr. King."

Card from King's Family

Printed Card from the family of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. to Lisa Sergio thanking her for her expression of sympathy upon death of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. on April 4, 1968.

Lisa Sergio Papers: Box 1 Folder 45

Coretta Scott King Honorary Degree

Citation for the honorary degree awarded to Coretta Scott King by the Georgetown University Law Center, May 29, 1977 (From the University Archives)

"She enlightened public opinion, from laborers to Presidents, teaching us that disabilities which limit one person's achievement also limit society's achievement; that restrictions which hobble just one individual's spirit degrade the human spirit; that no person is free until all are ."

Coretta Scott King (1927-2006), widow of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., made her own important contributions to the civil rights movement and to other social justice causes, earning an international reputation as an advocate of civil rights, nonviolence, international peace, full employment, and equal rights for women.