Pilgrimage of Prayer for Public Schools, January 1, 1959 [broadside]


VCU_M 306 Box2 f8 Pilgrimage of prayer for public schools 1959 rsz.jpg


Pilgrimage of Prayer for Public Schools, January 1, 1959 [broadside]


Broadside advertising A Pilgrimage of Prayer for Public Schools, January 1, 1959 in Richmond, Va. At this event, organizers played a seven-minute pre-recorded message from Dr. King. A description of the event by Wyatt Tee Walker as reported to Dr. King is available online. More than 1,500 people attended. 

Martin Luther King joins your Religious and Civic Leaders in Urging All Virginians to Come to Richmond in A Pilgrimage For Public Schools on EMANCIPATION DAY January 1, 1959. 

You will assemble at THE MOSQUE Laurel and Main Streets promptly at 2:30 P.M. 

"Let us not deceive ourselves! We have among us politicians who will not hesitate to CLOSE ALL PUBLIC SCHOOLS IN VIRGINIA. We must demonstrate to Virginia and the nation by our presence and action that we will not tolerate this crime against Virginia's children." --Dr.  Philip Y. Wyatt 

WHICH WILL IT BE? Free Eduation? or Closed Schools? 

"Only through the preservation of a free, desegregated public school system can a people be fully emancipated from the shackles of prejudice and inequality. American democracy itself is at stake. This is your pilgrimage." --The Rev. Wyatt Tee Walker


M 306 Box 2, folder 8, Richmond Crusade for Voters collection, James Branch Cabell Library, VCU LIbraries




Special Collections and Archives, James Branch Cabell Library, VCU Libraries



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Learn more:

Text of letter from Wyatt Tee Walker, pastor of Gillfield Baptist Church in Petersburg, to Martin Luther King, Jr. reporting on a 1 January Prayer Pilgrimage to protest the efforts of Virginia officials to block public school integration. Stanford University, The Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute. 

Leaflet. Passive Resisance to Massive Resistance. Leaflet with photographs of the Prayer Pilgrimage.  Digital Collections. Yale University Library.

Massive resistance, Social Welfare History Image Portal.

Massive resistance, Encyclopedia Virginia. 

Wyatt Tee Walker, Dr. King's Strategist and a Harlem Leader, Dies at 88, The New York Times. 

Martin Luther King, Jr., Social Welfare History Image Portal.


“Pilgrimage of Prayer for Public Schools, January 1, 1959 [broadside],” Social Welfare History Image Portal, accessed July 22, 2024, https://images.socialwelfare.library.vcu.edu/items/show/474.