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To Archibald James Carey, Jr.

King, Martin Luther, Jr.; French, Edgar N. (Montgomery Improvement Association)
December 27, 1955
Montgomery, Ala.
Montgomery Bus Boycott


King and Rev. E. N. French request that Carey, pastor of Chicago's Quinn Chapel AME Church, chair a committee of religious and civic leaders to lobby Chicago-based National City Lines, Inc., owner of the Montgomery bus company. The enclosure was sent to all the members of the suggested committee, which included Congressman William L. Dawson and J. H. Jackson, president of the National Baptist Convention. Carey did not reply until 24 February 1956.1

Dr. Archibald Carey
188 West Randolph Street
Suite 1501
Chicago, Illinois

Dear Dr. Carey:

We are sending to you under separate cover information which will inform, and bring you up to date on the matter of the Negro protest of the Montgomery City Lines busses here in Montgomery, Alabama.2

Having practically exhausted all means by which we hoped to have found a solution to our problem here, we are asking you, and other outstanding persons in your City, to present our cause to the National City Lines, Inc., 616 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, which Corporation owns the Bus Lines here in Montgomery.

Our Organization, The Montgomery Improvement Association, named you as Chairman of a Committee we are asking to represent us. We are asking you to please call the Committee at your earliest convenience and share the information we are sending to you with them. The attached letter will give you the names of others asked to serve on the Committee. We are leaving it up to you to add any others you deem necessary.

A copy of the attached letter has been mailed to each person on the Committee. They will be expecting a call from you.

We are sure that you are able to realize how meaningful this will be to the Negro Citizens of Montgomery, as well as how much we will appreciate your help. With sincere appreciations for your cooperation, we are,

Sincerely yours,
Montgomery Improvement Association

[signed] M. L. King/n
(Rev.) M. L. King, President

[signed] E. N. French
(Rev) E. N. French, Corresponding Secretary

A ground swell of social unrest has gripped Montgomery, Alabama, the seat of the Confederacy! The long overdue protest on the part of Negro citizens against the methods and manners of the Transit Lines of this City has come to fruition. The protest that started on December 5th. continues. Until this time no negotiations have been successful. The protest is almost one hundred per cent effective.

You surely must know that the struggle is terrific. But on the other hand the determination on the part of people on all social levels, all ages, and conditions is most heartening. How long this will continue depends, to some extent, upon how much help we can get from others.

The City Bus Lines here are controlled by the National City Lines, Inc., 616 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois. Although the Vice President of the Company has been here, we are asking you, with others herein named, to take our cause directly to the Official Staff there. We are sending to the Chairman materials which will explain, not only our objectives, but a number of the long standing grievances which are the motovating forces of our action at this time.

Two things we seek in you: 1. Put on the hearts and minds of the officials of the Bus Company that they have a responsibility in the human aspect of their business, especially where more than seventy-five per cent of their profits come from people who are treated inhuman in the operation of said business. 2. If you have a suggestion or advice to give us we shall be glad to hear from you.

We are calling upon you for your prestige, great influence, and human interest. Please do not fail us.


Dr. Archibald Carey, Chr., 188 W. Randolph St.
Bishop W. J. Wells, 4736 South Parkway
Dr. J. H.Jackson, 3101 South Parkway
Dr. J.W. Eichelberger, 128 East 58th. Street
Hon. William L. Dawson

Att. Earl Dickerson, 35 and South Parkway c/o Liberty Life Ins. Company3

Very truly yours,
Montgomery Improvement Association
[signed] M. L. King
(Rev.) M. L. King, President

P.S. Please answer the call of the Chairman of the Committee.

1. See p. 139-140 in this volume.

2. See "Legal Requirements Concerning the Segregation of Races on City Buses," 27 December 1955.

3. William Jacob Walls (1885-1975) was consecrated as a bishop of the AME Zion Church in 1924 and became a senior bishop in 1951. Joseph Harrison Jackson (1900-1990) served as president of the National Baptist Convention from 1953 to 1982. James William Eichelberger, Jr. (1886-1967), became secretary of the Department of Christian Education for the AME Zion Church in 1932 and served there until his death. William L. Dawson (1886-1970) was a Chicago lawyer and city alderman before being elected to Congress, where he served from 1942 until 1970. Earl Burrus Dickerson was president of Supreme Liberty Life Insurance (see Dickerson to King, 11 January 1956, pp. 98-99 in this volume).


AJC, ICHi, Archibald James Carey Collection, Chicago History Museum, Chicago, Ill., Box 29, folder 199 (CSKV92-A12)