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Chicago Reverend Who Fought For Civil Rights Donates MLK Letters, Protest Pins And More To Library

Rev. Martin L. Deppe began combining his religious work with pro-civil rights and anti-war activism in the 1960s.

Rev. Martin Deppe carries the Clergy and Laity Concerned banner during a Gulf War protest in 1990.
Rev. Martin L. Deppe Papers, Special Collections, Chicago Public Library
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DOWNTOWN — A Chicago reverend who’s spent decades fighting for civil rights has donated a large collection of his work to the Chicago Public Library.

Rev. Martin L. Deppe’s donation includes letters from Martin Luther King Jr., protest buttons, fliers, more than 800 photos and more dating back to as early as 1958. Anyone can look through the materials at Harold Washington Library.

Deppe, a United Methodist Church minister, began combining his religious work with pro-civil rights and anti-war activism in the 1960s. He also joined the Chicago chapter of Operation Breadbasket, a program focused on helping black communities.

The library collection shows “his involvement and leadership positions with numerous organizations advocating for human rights causes,” according to a Chicago Public Library news release.

Several items from the collection will be on display until March 30 at Harold Washington Library in its Special Collections Exhibit foyer.

The collections are available for research noon-6 p.m. Monday-Tuesday and noon-4 p.m. Friday-Saturday at the library.

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