An Online Exhibit

Ghana, 1957


On March 6, 1957, Ghana, formerly known as the Gold Coast, became the first African nation to achieve independence.

Vice President and Mrs. Nixon had met Dr. and Mrs. King attending the events celebrating Ghana’s independence.

The Vice President and the Pastor, and their wives, immediately established a warm and friendly relationship.

Over the course of a few days they had several conversations, and Vice President Nixon invited Dr. King to visit him in Washington.

May 15, 1957

May 28, 1957

Vice President Nixon and Dr. King Meet in the Capitol

Nixon’s Notes of MLK Meeting (5/13/57)

June 15, 1957

JET Magazine

August 30, 1957

August 30, 1957

In the letter’s last two paragraphs, King wrote positively about his impression of, and hopes for, the Vice President as a positive and proactive force for civil rights.

September 17, 1957

September 8, 1957

September 22, 1958

December 5, 1958

There was no communication between the former Vice President and Dr. King during Nixon’s Wilderness Years (1960-1968).

In the Nixon archives, there is an internal rough draft for what might have been a personal message to Mrs. King.

Nixon Visits Coretta Scott King

Following the visit to Coretta Scott King at Auburn Avenue, Nixon and Chapin went to the home of Martin Luther King Sr. and Alberta Williams King, the slain leader’s parents.

Nixon knew “Daddy” King, the Pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church, well from his time as Vice President. Daddy King had originally supported Nixon in his 1960 presidential campaign against John F. Kennedy.

Dwight Chapin describes Nixon’s visit to the home of Martin Luther King Sr. and Alberta Williams King

Nixon Attends the Funeral of Martin Luther King Jr.

Dwight Chapin describes Nixon’s arrival at the Ebenezer Baptist Church and the service there for Dr. King.

The service was opened by Rev. Ralph Abernathy. At Coretta Scott King’s request, her late husband eulogized himself: a recording of his last sermon delivered at Ebenezer Baptist Church (“Drum Major,” February 4, 1968) was played.

At the Ebenezer Baptist Church, Nixon was seated next to Senator Eugene and Abigail McCarthy.

Senator Edward Kennedy and Governor George and Lenore Romney also attended the service.

After the funeral service at Ebenezer Baptist Church, Nixon joined the marchers behind Dr. King’s casket – on a plain wooden farm wagon pulled by two local mules – on a three mile procession through the streets of Atlanta, Georgia.

Nixon marched alongside basketball legend Wilt Chamberlain.