MLK Soldiers

  • 0

Minister and civil rights activist Joseph E. Lowery was a member of Martin Luther King’s inner circle of confidantes and colleagues. Lowery was a founding executive committee member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and was made a vice president in the late 1950s. Lower…

  • 0

Harry Belafonte, a supporter of Martin Luther King, Jr., and the civil rights movement, used his celebrity as a beloved entertainer to garner funding for the movement. In her autobiography, Coretta Scott King said of Belafonte, “Whenever we got into trouble or when tragedy struck, Harry has …

  • 0

An instrumental figure in initiating and sustaining the Montgomery bus boycott, Jo Ann Robinson was an outspoken critic of the treatment of African Americans on public transportation. In his memoir, “Stride Toward Freedom,” Martin Luther King said of Robinson: “Apparently indefatigable, she,…

  • 0

A student activist in the Nashville, Tennessee, sit-in campaign of 1960, and a longtime staff member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Bernard Lafayette gained a reputation as a steadfast proponent of nonviolence before Martin Luther King offered him the position of pr…

  • 0

One of the founding members of the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights (ACMHR) and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), Fred Shuttlesworth brought a militant voice to the struggle for black equality. In 1963 he drew Martin Luther King and SCLC to Birmingham for a hist…

  • 0

As the “Queen of Gospel,” Mahalia Jackson sang all over the world, performing with the same passion at the presidential inauguration of John F. Kennedy that she exhibited when she sang at fundraising events for the African American freedom struggle. A great champion of the Civil Rights Movem…

  • 0

Daisy Lee Gaston Bates, a civil rights advocate, newspaper publisher, and president of the Arkansas chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), advised the nine students who desegregated Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1957. Martin Luth…

  • 0

As an active participant in the civil rights movement, comedian Dick Gregory became a close ally of Martin Luther King. In a 14 May 1965 letter to Gregory, King extolled his contributions to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and civil rights, stating that he had been “so de…

  • 0

Whitney Young served as the executive director of the National Urban League from 1961 to 1971, the critical years in the civil rights movement. Although the National Urban League was not involved in direct action protests, Young often collaborated with Martin Luther King, who appreciated tha…

  • 0

As field secretary for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in Mississippi from 1954 until his death in 1963, Medgar Evers played a pivotal role in the civil rights organization’s expansion in the South. Although the NAACP leadership sought to challenge segr…

  • 0

Credited by Martin Luther King with initiating the Children’s Crusade during the Birmingham Campaign of 1963, James Bevel emerged as a civil rights leader from the ranks of the Nashville, Tennessee, student movement. Bevel was at King’s side during many of the major campaigns of the Southern…

  • 0

In Martin Luther King’s famous “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” he called James Meredith, the first African American to integrate the University of Mississippi in 1962, a hero of the civil rights movement. He honored Meredith and others for their strong sense of purpose that allowed them to st…

  • 0

Student activist Julian Bond first met Martin Luther King in 1960 when he was a student at Morehouse College. The two became better acquainted when Bond joined the small staff of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), which shared an office with the Southern Christian Leadersh…

  • 0

A close advisor to Martin Luther King and one of the most influential and effective organizers of the civil rights movement, Bayard Rustin was affectionately referred to as “Mr. March-on-Washington” by A. Philip Randolph. Rustin organized and led a number of protests in the 1940s, 1950s, and…

  • 0

As a minister, educator, and community organizer, C. T. Vivian has been a tenacious advocate for civil rights since the 1940s. After joining the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in the early 1960s, he became the Director of Affiliates and participated in numerous protests. Kno…

  • 0

As a minister who trained many activists in nonviolent resistance, James Lawson made a critical contribution to the civil rights movement. In his 1968 speech, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop,” Martin Luther King spoke of Lawson as one of the “noble men” who had influenced the Black freedom str…

  • 0

Described by Martin Luther King as “one of the keenest minds of the nonviolent revolution,” Wyatt Tee Walker served as executive director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) from 1960 to 1964.

  • 0

Union leader and civil rights advocate E. D. Nixon helped launch the Montgomery bus boycott, the event that propelled Martin Luther King, Jr., into the national spotlight. Described by King as “one of the chief voices of the Negro community in the area of civil rights,” and “a symbol of the …

  • 0

A. Philip Randolph, whom Martin Luther King, Jr., called “truly the Dean of Negro leaders,” played a crucial role in gaining recognition of African Americans in labor organizations. A socialist and a pacifist, Randolph founded the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, the first successful Bla…

  • 0

As executive secretary of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) from 1955 to 1977, Roy Wilkins collaborated with Martin Luther King on many of the major campaigns of the civil rights movement. Although Wilkins favored a legal approach to achieving racial equa…