Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and The
Conference on the Status of Soviet Jews
In 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other U.S. leaders formed the Conference on the Status of Soviet Jews, which convened in October of that year to discuss the plight of Soviet Jewry. More than 300 distinguished American leaders participated in the conference, which concluded by issuing an "Appeal of Conscience" to leaders of the Soviet Union.
Dr. King was outspoken on the plight of Soviet Jewry. He declared:
"I can not stand idly by, even though I live in the United States and even though I happen to be an American Negro, and not be concerned about what happens to my brothers and sisters who happen to be Jews in Soviet Russia. For what happens to them happens to me and to you, and we must be concerned. … The struggle of the Negro people for freedom is inextricably interwoven with the universal struggle of all peoples to be free from discrimination and oppression. … In the name of humanity I urge that the Soviet government end all the discriminatory measures against its Jewish community."