Interview with Martin Luther King, Jr., March 18, 1964

Project: Robert Penn Warren Civil Rights Oral History Project

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Interview Summary

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) was a Baptist minister in Atlanta, Georgia and Montgomery, Alabama and a civil rights activist. He was a major leader of the civil rights movement from the mid-1950s until his assassination in 1968. King graduated from a segregated Atlanta high school in 1948 and received his Bachelor of Art's degree from Morehouse College. King received his Bachelor's of Divinity from Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania and later completed his doctorate in 1955 from Boston University. As an executive committee member of the NAACP, he served as leader of the first great nonviolent demonstration, the bus boycott of 1955. Also in 1955, King was elected president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). King is known for promoting nonviolent tactics to combat racism and segregation including the 1963 March on Washington. In 1964, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace. In 1968 King was assassinated on the balcony of his motel room in Memphis Tennessee where he was waiting to lead a protest march for the city's striking garbage workers. In this interview, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. discusses the similarities and differences of his and his father's work as civil rights activists. Dr. King describes and defends his belief in nonviolent methods and provides his reaction to criticisms of his philosophy of nonviolence. He also describes what he considers the next phases of the civil rights movement. Dr. King discusses Dr. Clark's belief that Dr. King is "safe" for white people in the civil rights movement to follow. He also addresses the resulting resistance of some African American's in the movement towards his leadership and discusses the current state and future of the civil rights movement without a centralized leadership. Dr. King also considers Gunnar Myrdal's proposal for Reconstruction of the South after the Civil War and discusses the connection between the Reconstruction era and contemporary racism. He continues by describing the issues associated with relating to Africa and African American identity and cultural assimilation. Dr. King provides his opinion regarding bussing and school integration and briefly discusses Reverend Milton Galamison. He also explains his interpretation of the slogan "Freedom Now" and provides his views on the Black Nationalism movement. Dr. King recalls when he was physically attacked by African American men and women and proposes the reasons behind the attacks. Dr. King also briefly discusses the type of audience that he usually addresses.

Interview Accession

2002oh108_rpwcr003

Interviewee Name

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Interviewer Name

Robert Penn Warren

Interview Date

1964-03-18

Interview Rights

All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.

Interview Usage

Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.

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King, Martin Luther, Jr. Interview by Robert Penn Warren. 18 Mar. 1964. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

King, M.L., Jr. (1964, March 18). Interview by R. P. Warren. Robert Penn Warren Civil Rights Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.

King, Martin Luther, Jr., interview by Robert Penn Warren. March 18, 1964, Robert Penn Warren Civil Rights Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.





Persistent Link for this Record: https://kentuckyoralhistory.org/ark:/16417/xt79kd1qgb1z