In an 8 September letter, former Illinois governor Adlai Stevenson invited King to co-sponsor a tribute dinner for Eleanor Roosevelt.1 King agrees to the request in the letter below. The 7 December dinner in New York City, which King did not attend, was a fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee and a showcase for the party's presidential hopefuls including Stevenson, G. Mennen Williams, and John F. Kennedy.2
Governor Adlai E. Stevenson
135 South LaSalle Street
Chicago 3, Illinois
Dear Governor Stevenson:
On returning to the office I found your letter of September 8, inviting me to join the National Sponsors Committee of the dinner in tribute to Eleanor Roosevelt. I will be more than delighted and honored to do this. To my mind Mrs. Roosevelt is one of the truly great persons of the world.
Very sincerely yours,
Martin L. King, Jr.
1. Adlai Ewing Stevenson (1900-1965), born in Los Angeles, earned an A.B. (1922) from Princeton University and a J.D. (1926) from Northwestern University. Stevenson served in several governmental positions before his election as governor of Illinois in 1948. He received the Democratic presidential nomination in 1952 and in 1956, but lost to Eisenhower both times and chose not to run again in 1960 despite the encouragement of his supporters. In 1960 Kennedy appointed him ambassador to the United Nations, a position he held until his death in 1965.
2. Leo Egan, “Mrs. Roosevelt Disputes Truman on Liberals’ Role,” New York Times, 8 December 1959.
MLKP, MBU, Martin Luther King, Jr., Papers, 1954-1968, Boston University, Boston, Mass.