New Items Related to Martin Luther King, Jr., Added to NC Digital Collections

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination, we have added 74 new items from the Daniel K. Moore governors’ papers collection to the Civil Rights digital collection. These items mostly consist of correspondence and clippings from 1968 relating to the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The discovery of these items was spurred by a blog post published by NCSU Special Collections regarding reactions to the assassination across the NCSU campus, which references some of the materials (e.g., the program from the memorial service in Raleigh for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a petition to Governor Moore from NCSU student protesters, and a letter from Chancellor Caldwell to Governor Moore) that have been added to our Civil Rights digital collection.

When North Carolinians want to voice their opinions, they now they have a variety of means to do so—but in 1968, a time before social media and email, many citizens wrote letters and mailed them to Governor Moore expressing their anger, appreciation, fear, and determination to create a better future.

From left to right: a letter from Robert F. Kennedy to Mary Mills regarding the assassination of MLK just one month before Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated; a program from a memorial service held in Raleigh in memory of MLK on April 7; and one page of a petition that received approximately 600 signatures calling for positive action following MLK’s assassination.
From left to right: a letter sent to Governor Moore expressing concerns on rioting and MLK, who was assassinated five days after the letter was written; a resolution passed by the Faculty Senate of NCSU in support of Governor Moore’s efforts in the cause of social and economic justice for all North Carolinians; and a report from the State Highway Patrol regarding an incident with “possible racial overtones” in Elizabeth City.

Among the new items that have been added to this collection, you’ll find:

  • Dozens of letters from North Carolina citizens expressing their opinions on the assassination, the reactions of state and local governments, imposed curfews, outbreaks of violence, racial oppression, civil rights legislation, and other related matters
  • Reports from the State Highway Patrol regarding separate marches led by Livingstone College students and Johnson C. Smith students following news of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • A resolution passed by the Faculty Senate of North Carolina State University in support of Governor Moore’s efforts in the cause of social and economic justice for all North Carolinians
  • A letter detailing a recruiting schedule for historically black colleges and universities in North Carolina for students interested in serving in state government
  • Memorial service programs for Martin Luther King, Jr. held in Raleigh and Salisbury
  • WTVD Code of Conduct for reporting civil disorders and other events that may reflect public tension in the regional viewing area
  • Report to Governor Moore from an unofficial committee considering ways to stimulate the advancement of human relations and human dignity in North Carolina
  • A letter to a nurse from Robert F. Kennedy regarding the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that was forwarded to Governor Moore
  • Letters and telegrams regarding student demonstrations in Swanquarter, NC
  • Letters protesting the possibility that Stokely Carmichael, Black Panther Party prime minister, might speak at any state-supported university or institution

This digital collection represents only a small sample of Civil Rights materials available at the State Archives. We hope to add more to this collection in the future.

For more on the Civil Rights Movement, see NCpedia, an online encyclopedia which highlights North Carolina’s unique resources, and which includes several articles on the Civil Rights Movement, including: “African American Civil Rights in North Carolina;” “Civil Rights Sit-Ins;” “Brown v. the Board of Education;” and many others.