Archives tell the stories of people’s lives—their fears and passions as well as their worldly accomplishments. You never know what personal gems you might find.
The papers of art critic Harold Rosenberg at the Getty Research Institute include this undated letter from photographer Dorothy Norman with an invitation to a gathering featuring Martin Luther King, Jr. in support of CORE and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. King—as well as James Baldwin, Aaron Copland, Ralph Ellison, Allen Ginsberg, and other luminaries—was often to be found in Norman’s New York City townhouse.
The letter refers to the sit-ins of the early 1960s that began when African American students met with violence, resistance, and arrest for ordering coffee at “whites only” lunch counters.
Transcription of the letter
won’t you join me
Eleanor Roosevelt Lillian Smith
Reverend Martin Luther King James Baldwin
to meet with
leaders of the Student Sit-Ins
who have been in jail
to create further
(Congress on Racial Equity)
Reverend King’s Southern Leadership Conference
providing crucial moral leadership
in the non-violent struggle
in the South today
at my home
124 East 70th Street
Friday, February 3rd 5:30–8 P.M.
Because of the importance of the occasion, and space
limitations, the favor of an early reply will
be greatly appreciated — R.S.V.P. — Regent 7-0722