Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation

From Alfred Hassler

Main content start

Author: Hassler, Alfred (Fellowship of Reconciliation (U.S.))

Date: December 22, 1958

Location: Nyack, N.Y.

Genre: Letter

Topic: Martin Luther King, Jr. - Political and Social Views



In an 18 July letter to King, William Miller of the Fellowship of Reconciliation expressed his hope that King might overcome his reservations about pacifism and join FOR.1 At the MIA's Third Annual Institute on Non-Violence, held during the first week of December, King indicated to FOR field secretary Glenn Smiley that he wished to become a member.2 Hassler, the organization's executive secretary, acknowledges King's decision.

Rev. Martin Luther King
309 South Jackson Street
Montgomery, Alabama

Dear Martin:

On my return from the trip to Europe with the crew of the Golden Rule I learned with great satisfaction of your decision to join the Fellowship of Reconciliation.3 I know that Glenn has told you of our pleasure in having you make this move, but I did want to add my own personal word of greeting.

Best wishes for a good Christmas to you all.

[signed] Al H
Alfred Hassler


1. Miller acknowledged King's apprehension, but suggested that "there are currents of pacifist Christian realism in the FOR" that King would find appealing. Hassler and other FOR members had also tried to recruit King as a member (Hassler to King, 17 October 1957). In Stride Toward Freedom, King contrasted his "realistic pacifism" with the "unwarranted optimism" of many pacifists, who he often found self-righteous and naïve regarding the "glaring reality of collective evil" (p. 99).

2. Fellowship of Reconciliation, Minutes, Executive committee, 16 December 1958.

3. In February 1958 pacifist Albert Bigelow attempted to sail his yacht, the Golden Rule, into a bombing zone in the Pacific Ocean to protest the Atomic Energy Commission's plans to resume nuclear tests; he and three companions were arrested by the Coast Guard near Honolulu and jailed briefly. In the fall of 1958 Hassler joined a delegation on the Golden Rule that visited several Western European countries and the Soviet Union to lobby for an international nuclear test ban.

Source: MLKP-MBU, Martin Luther King, Jr., Papers, 1954-1968, Boston University, Boston, Mass.

© Copyright Information