25 MLK documents to be sold by Gallery 63, April 15th A treasure trove of about 25 previously unknown documents relating to slain civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King will be sold as one lot in a sale slated for April 15th by Gallery 63 in Atlanta.
News-Antique.com - Apr 02,2007 - FOLDER OF 25 PREVIOUSLY UNKNOWN DOCUMENTS PERTAINING TO
DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., TO BE SOLD BY GALLERY 63, APRIL 15
(Atlanta, Ga.) - An unassuming Pendaflex file folder, still green but weathered with age and frayed around the edges, holds a treasure trove of about 25 previously unknown documents pertaining to slain civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The papers will be offered up as one lot in a sale slated for April 15 by Gallery 63, the consignment arm of auction powerhouse Red Baron.
Contained in the find are first typed drafts of important speeches; letters to and from Dr. King; ephemera from the era; and other papers and documents, all having to do with a man who became synonymous with the civil rights movement in America and who is arguably the most important and recognizable man of the 20th century. All the documents are from the early-to-mid 1960s.
“These papers are Library of Congress stuff. They belong to the people of America – the world, really,” said Paul Brown of Gallery 63. “They need to be archived, in a museum, in a moisture- and light-controlled environment. Ideally, I would like to see them go to a museum, where they can be shared. But I have no control over who the high bidder will be or how much they will offer.”
Until recently, the folder had been stored in the basement of the consignor – an elderly Maryland woman who was an acquaintance of Dr. King's. The two were both involved with an Atlanta radio station, WAOK-AM 1380, at the height of the civil rights movement. Dr. King delivered radio sermons on the station and maintained an office there; the consignor was a financial contributor.
In the mid-1960s, the station was undergoing a difficult time financially and had to borrow money just to remain afloat. The Maryland woman loaned the station some cash, but in lieu of repayment she accepted the documents being offered next month. They have remained in that same Pendaflex folder for the past 40 years in her basement. Few knew of their existence until now.
Included in the trove are the following papers and documents:
A typed position paper titled “Statement by Martin Luther King, Jr., on New York Race Riots” (3 pages, dated July 27, 1964). One sentence reads, “On the one hand we must vigorously condemn the violence and lawlessness of the Negro community.” Dr. King, in his own hand, drew a line through the word “condemn” and replaced it with “regret.”
An invitation from the Italian television station Radiotelevisione Italiana, dated August 19, 1964, inviting Dr. King to appear on a future telecast. Dr. King writes in the margin, “For Andy (Andrew Young). Tell them I would be happy to appear...in October or November.” But it never happened; Dr. King had to drop all previously accepted engagements to accept that year's Nobel Peace Prize.
A letter from a representative of the Berlin Jazz Festival, typed on Newport Jazz Festival