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Martin Luther King Forwards A Letter To Rosa Parks For Sale
Martin Luther King Forwards a Letter to Rosa Parks
“Get this letter to Mrs Parks”
MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.
Autograph Note written on retained copy of a Typed Letter by Maude L.
Ballou. March 6, 1957, [Montgomery, Ala.], 1 p., 8 ½ x 11 in.
At the time of this letter, Rosa Parks was the secretary of the
Montgomery chapter of the NAACP and had already gained fame by refusing
to give up her seat on a municipal bus to a group of white passengers.
On December 17, 1956, the Supreme Court upheld the decision of a U.S.
District Court that that Alabama’s racial segregation laws on public
transit were unconstitutional. Three days later, the Court ordered
Alabama to desegregate its busses.
Just over a month later, on January 25, 1957, Myrtle Moore, membership
secretary for the Palo Alto-Stanford Branch of the NAACP, wrote to
Martin Luther King informing him that her “branch of NAACP ‘adopted’ the
Montgomery branch for the year 1957, paying in to the New York
headquarters $1,050.00 as dues for your branch.” She added that the
youth members in California “have now become very much interested in
knowing more about what is going on down there in the Southland, and
they wish very much to become ‘pen pals’ with the YOUTH of your
erstwhile branch.” Having a racially diverse group of youngsters,
including “some white members, altho [sic] not as many as we would like
to have,” she asks if the young people in Alabama would correspond with
those in California.
Two months after that, on March 6, 1957, Maude L. Ballou, friend and
personal secretary to King, sent a typed letter apologizing for the
delayed response and explaining that “Through some error your encouraging and inspiring letter was misplace in the great flood of mail here in the office” and that “Rev.
King left on February 26, for an extended tour of Africa and Europe . .
. I would, however, like to express the gratitude of Rev. King and the
people of Montgomery for the very kind gesture in our behalf.” This
is that letter. Once he returned from the aforementioned trip, King
wrote a short note in blue ink at the top of Mrs. Ballou’s letter asking
her to send it on to Parks.
Fine. Lightly toned with small spots of foxing and smoothed folds.
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