Records of the Martin Luther King Holiday Commission, 1968-1990

Records of the Martin Luther King Holiday Commission, 1968-1990

Finding Aid

Collection No. 17 (4 Linear ft.)
D.C. Community Archives


Professor Brady Tyson donated papers related to his participation in the D.C. and Federal Holiday Commissions. Dr. Tyson was also a member of the board of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.


The D.C and Federal Holiday Commissions worked to get a federal holiday for Dr. King and publicized efforts to celebrate his accomplishments.  

Scope and Content Note

The papers consists of memoranda, meeting minutes, reports, press releases, statements, newsletters, clippings, conference packets, and correspondence, which document efforts to establish a Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial holiday. The collection also includes the SCLC national magazine, and SCLC convention materials (1980s), items from the King Center in Atlanta, and some historical flyers, publications, and other historical items.

Series Descriptions

Series I: Commission Files, 1972-1990 (1.25 linear ft.)
The series contains materials about the Commission’s work, including Commission meeting minutes, annual reports, routine correspondence, report on the first holiday, memoranda, legislation, and conference materials. It also contains items from organizations that supported the King holiday, such as the Martin Luther King Center for Nonviolent Change, National Black Caucus, and National Black Leadership Roundtable.

Series II: Public Speeches, Statements and Remarks, 1968-88 (.50 linear ft.)
This series includes SCLC 1968 statement of purpose for the Poor People’s Campaign, statements regarding the 1983 March for Jobs, Peace and Freedom, a printed lecture, and speeches in honor of the first King holiday, among others.

Series III:  Publicity, 1963, 1986-1990 (.5 linear ft.)
This series contains clippings, flyers, brochures, event programs, promotional materials, newsletters, and news releases to promote the King holiday, as well as the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, the King film project, and items dating from marches and other events in the 1960s.

Series IV: Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), 1969-1988 (1.25 linear ft.)
This series contains meeting minutes, conference packets, brochures, newsletters, and reports of the SCLC, which was closely involved with efforts to establish a King holiday. The materials are primarily from the 1980s, but also include a few historical documents from SCLC, which Dr. King established in the early 1960s. The series also contains the SCLC magazine, SCLC, from 1986-1990.
Series V: Publications, 1967-1969; 1980-1990 (.50 linear ft.)
This series contains a few historical and current publications regarding civil rights and African Americans. It also contains a D.C. government manual for boards and commissions.

Box Inventory

Series I: Commission Files

Box 1

  • Annual reports, 1988-1990
  • Conference materials, 1979-1986
  • Conference materials, 1987-1990
  • Correspondence, 1984-1986
  • Fact Sheet, 1986
  • Meeting Minutes (Atlanta), January 1986

Box 2

  • Meeting minutes, 1987-1989 (2 folders)
  • Memoranda, 1985-1886
  • MLK Center, 1978-1990

Box 3

  • MLK National Holiday legislation 1983, (2 folders)
  • Report II on the First King Holiday, 1986 (2 folders)
  • State Liaisons, 1988
  • Work Program, 1988

Series II: Public Speeches, Statements, and Remarks

Box 4

  • Statements, remarks and speeches, 1968-88 (3 folders)

Series III: Publicity

  • Brochures and programs, 1986-1987 (2 folders)

Box 5

  • Clippings, 1966-1968,1986-1990 (5 folders)
  • Flyers, 1985-1990
  • Hand Bell promotion, 1987
  • King film project, n.d.
  • Newsletters, 1963-1990
  • News releases, 1987

Series IV: SCLC

Box 6

  • Annual report, 1983
  • Brochures and programs, 1986-1988
  • Constitution (proposed), 1988
  • Conferences, 1981-1990
  • Convention, 1972; 1985-1987
  • Financial, n.d.
  • Meeting minutes, 1969, 1984-1990
  • SCLC Convention 1987-1988
  • SCLC Convention 1989-1990

Box 7

  • SCLC magazine, 1986-1988

Box 8

  • SCLC magazine, 1980-1990

Series V: Publications

  • D.C. Boards and Commissions Manual, 1986 and 1988
  • Historical publications, 1966-1969
  • Miscellaneous publications, 1980-1987  

October 2000

DC Public Library, Special Collections
DC Community Archives

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