Last summer, I was honored to meet with Edward H. Rosen, one of the Museum’s emeritus Trustees, to accept the donation of a treasured memento of his encounter with the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
In 1965, a few months after he won the Nobel Peace Prize, Dr. King received a Humanitarian Award from Golden Slipper Square Club. As president of that local Jewish charity, Mr. Rosen organized a fund-raising luncheon for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference at the Bellevue Hotel in Philadelphia, and the proceeds and the award were presented to Dr. King that evening along with a small Torah scroll. Speaking at the dinner in his honor, the famed civil rights leader lauded Jewish contributions to the cause. He praised Jewish civil rights workers Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, who were murdered by Ku Klux Klan members during Freedom Summer in 1964 along with their associate James Earl Chaney, an African American man from Mississippi.
In his message in the issue of the club’s magazine that preceded their meeting, Mr. Rosen urged his fellow Slipper members to “get involved” in the civil rights cause and take action in the shared struggles at hand. He celebrated Dr. King’s courage and his work by saying that “his leadership in the drive for human rights will prove to be a blessing to all people in our country.” While I spoke with him, I could tell that Mr. Rosen cherishes his memory of his encounter with Dr. King and counts it as one of his proudest moments. I am happy that we are able to display this magazine cover, inscribed to Mr. Rosen by Dr. King that night in 1965, in our lobby in honor of Black History Month this February.