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To Anne Braden

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Author: King, Martin Luther, Jr. (Dexter Avenue Baptist Church)

Date: October 7, 1959

Location: Montgomery, Ala.

Genre: Letter

Topic: Martin Luther King, Jr. - Threats/attacks against


King responds to Braden’s 23 September letter and relays information about Ed Friend, a segregationist operative who attended an SCLC event. He also expresses his hope that Braden and her husband Carl would become “permanently associated” with SCLC.1 On the day that King wrote this letter, Carl Braden appeared before the U.S. Court of Appeals in Atlanta at a hearing to overturn his 1958 conviction for refusing to testify before the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC).2

Mrs. Anne Braden
Southern Conference Educational Fund, Inc.
4403 Virginia Avenue 
Louisville 11, Kentucky

Dear Anne:

This is just a note to acknowledge receipt of your letter of September 23, which came to the office in my absence.

I am deeply grateful to you for sending me the information concerning Mr. Ed Friend. I am quite familiar with him, and realize that he is a very dangerous character. He attended many of the sessions of our institute on nonviolence in Atlanta this summer before anybody recognized him.3 I finally became suspicious and had a committee to question him to see if he was the same person that was at Highlander on Labor Day weekend in 1957. It turned out that he was. I knew that from that moment on that he would do something in a malicious manner. It turned out just as I had expected. I will certainly keep your letter on my file, since it might be necessary to refer to it some day.

It was certainly good to have Carl in Columbia last week. He added a great deal to the meeting.4 I hope both of you will find it possible to become permanently associated with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. It is my firm belief that our movement must be interracial to be thoroughly effective. This will keep the struggle over and above a mere racial struggle, for as I have said so often, the tension in the South is between justice and injustice rather than white people or Negro people. We will be keeping in touch with you concerning future meetings, and we will definitely put you on the mailing lists of both the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the Montgomery Improvement Association.

Very sincerely yours,

1. In a 10 October reply, Carl Braden conveyed his delight in afliliating with SCLC but expressed his uncertainty as to what “qualifications” or “dues” were necessary for membership. On 22 October King answered that because SCLC was not a membership organization “in a real sense you are already a part of” the organization.

2. King, Sr. and Ella Baker attended Braden’s 7 October hearing (SCEF, Press release, 8 October 1959 ,and Carl Braden to King, Sr., 10 October 1959).

3. SCLC, CORE, and FOR co-sponsored the 22-24 July institute at Spelman College (see Resolutions, First Southwide Institute on Nonviolent Resistance to Segregation, 11 August 1959).

4. Carl Braden took detailed notes at SCLC’s fall conference (Braden, Notes on SCLC Fall Session, 30 September-1 October 1959).

Source: CAABP, WHi, Carl and Anne Braden Papers, State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Madison, Wis., Box 31.

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