An Unexpected Connection to Dr. King

In honor of this week’s holiday (yes, I’m a few days behind), I thought I’d look a few decades beyond my usual focus on the 1920s and 30s.

I am still elbow-deep in the Albert M. Greenfield papers (collection 1959), which includes materials on an impressive array of topics, events, and notable people. Even Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Greenfield at his estate, Sugarloaf, in 1961. Photo by The Sunday Bulletin.

Greenfield (1887-1967) had considerable influence as a businessman, political heavy-weight, and philanthropist in Philadelphia and beyond. Among many other activities, he was involved in the city’s Fellowship House, an early social change effort focused on inclusiveness.

Perhaps it was through that connection that Greenfield was tapped to introduce Dr. King when he spoke at the Academy of Music on October 24, 1961.

You can see an image of Greenfield and King (perhaps from that event) posted on the Albert M. Greenfield Foundation web site. The image is in the fourth row from the top, third from the left.

Here is the full text of Greenfield’s introduction:

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You quickly get a sense of the scale of Greenfield’s connections and influence by looking through the photos included in the collection. Here are just a few of my favorites:

President Lyndon B. Johnson spoke to a sea of students at Temple University on October 29, 1964. The man standing to his left, in the hat, is Greenfield. Photo by The Evening Bulletin.

Greenfield and Albert Einstein, or at least what looks to be the back of his head, in Princeton, NJ.

President Harry Truman, holding a folio, with Greenfield to the right.

Our work with this collection is part of a larger effort to draw attention to HSP’s 20th century collections, and is funded by the Albert M. Greenfield Foundation. Stay tuned!


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