February 19, 1910 to June 5, 1991
As editor of Fellowship, the magazine of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, Alfred Hassler helped publish a comic book, “Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story,” to publicize the Montgomery bus boycott. Martin Luther King thanked Hassler for his support, stating: “You have done a marvelous job of grasping the underlying truth and philosophy of the movement” (Papers 4:303).
Born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, Hassler attended the Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute and Columbia University. He was a conscientious objector during World War II and joined the staff of Fellowship in 1942. In 1958, he joined Albert Bigelow on his yacht, Golden Rule, sailing to Europe and the Soviet Union to protest nuclear testing. From 1960 to 1974 he served as executive secretary of the United States Fellowship of Reconciliation and was also president of the International Confederation for Disarmament and Peace.
In 1965, Hassler was part of a group of clergy who traveled to Vietnam to meet with religious leaders. King sent a cablegram to Hassler, stating: “Please know that you have my prayers and deepest support as you seek to establish the dialogue between conflicting parties” (King, 5 July 1965). As a result of his trips to Vietnam, in 1970 Hassler founded the Dai Dong project, linking environmental problems, war, and poverty issues. He was the author of several books including Diary of a Self-Made Convict (1954) and Saigon, U.S.A. (1970).
King to Hassler, 28 October 1957, in Papers 4:302–303.
King to Hassler, 5 July 1965, FORR-PSC-P.