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

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: 
Interview Date: 
LC Subjects: 
African American leadership   African Americans--Civil rights   African Americans--Cultural Assimilation   African Americans--Race identity.   African Americans--Relations with Africans   Black nationalism   Civil rights leaders--United States   Civil rights movements--United States   Clark, Kenneth Bancroft, 1914-2005   Congress of Racial Equality   Galamison, Milton A. (Milton Arthur), 1923-1988   King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968   King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968--Interviews   Myrdal, Gunnar, 1898-1987   National Association for the Advancement of Colored People   Nonviolence   Nonviolence--Philosophy   Race relations   Reconstruction (U.S. history, 1865-1877)   School integration--United States   Segregation   Southern Christian Leadership Conference  
External Links: 

No Restrictions

Submit a request for access to a copy of this interview. If you do not have an account, you will be prompted to set up an account in order to submit this request. If you already have an account, log in to your account when prompted.

To request an interview using our request system, you have accepted (or for first-time users you will need to accept) the terms of our user agreement below.


This AGREEMENT is for materials whose intellectual and physical property rights reside with the University of Kentucky (UK) through creation, purchase, gift/donation, or has been assigned to the University of Kentucky for the purpose of research or publication.

Use of materials is expressly limited as described in this user agreement. As a condition of UK providing recorded interview(s) THROUGH THIS ONLINE PATRON ACCOUNT OR OTHER DELIVERY METHOD, and/or subsequent transcript(s) of such, you agree to strictly abide by the following:
Copyright to the recorded interview(s) and/or subsequent transcript(s) of such remains with the University of Kentucky and when use is permitted appropriate copyright credit must be given to UK:

© University of Kentucky, all rights reserved, (Project Name), Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

WHEN permission is granted, it is for one time use only and any subsequent use, including reproduction of recorded interview(s) and/or subsequent transcript(s) of such will require an additional user agreement.

While the University of Kentucky asserts ownership of the items, your use of the recorded interview(s) and/or subsequent transcript(s) of such is strictly at your own risk. The user agrees to hold harmless UK, their officers, directors, employees and affiliated entities, any and all of them, against and from any liability, loss, cost, or expense whatsoever, including attorney's fees, arising out of or relating to use of the recorded interview(s) and/or subsequent transcript(s) of such. UK is solely responsible for making the recorded interview(s) and/or subsequent transcript(s) of such available to you pursuant to this user agreement.

User agrees that any violation of this user agreement will cause irreparable harm to UK, agrees that injunctive relief (a court order directing that you cease activity) is an appropriate remedy and consents to such relief. Injunctive relief will be in addition to any and all remedies that may be available.

I understand that I must provide the University of Kentucky Libraries two (2) copies of any published work (includes books, journals, pamphlets, flyers, buttons, labels, video productions, etc.) free of charge. Ship to the address below:

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History
Special Collections
University of Kentucky Libraries
Margaret I. King Building
Lexington, KY 40506-0039



Persistent Link for this Record: