Arthur Lelyveld (1913-1996) was a Reform rabbi in New York City and Cleveland, OH who gained national prominence for his social activism. These letters are all from American leaders in politics and social movements, either to Lelyveld or to his widow shortly after his death. 4 letters are signed by Coretta Scott King, 1982-96 and undated. One reads "Speaking at Fairmont Temple on Yom Kippur was indeed a unique and rewarding experience. . . . To fellowship and share with you and your congregation on your holiest of holy days is a privilege I shall always cherish." Upon his death, King wrote to Lelyveld's widow "At a time when many religious leaders shrank from the controversial challenge of the Civil Rights Movement, his response was swift, unstinting and wholehearted support for the cause of racial justice." President Jimmy Carter, Justice Earl Warren, Senator Howard Metzenbaum, Senator Ted Kennedy, and Cleveland Mayor Carl Stokes sent personal notes of thanks on various occasions. Also included are less personal letters from politicians such as Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton, Lyndon Johnson, George McGovern, Daniel Moynihan, and Hubert Humphrey (some of them likely completed in autopen). Other correspondents included Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., Sargent Shriver, singer Beverly Sills, and labor leader Walter Reuther. Scholars Steven Schwarzschild and A.L. Sacher sent substantial letters on Jewish affairs. 3 later copy print photographs vividly demonstrate Lelyveld's dedication to the Civil Rights movement--two show him at events with Martin Luther King, Jr., and the other shows him drenched with blood after being beaten during a Freedom Summer voter drive in Hattiesburg, MS in 1964.
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