Three weeks after the boycott began, King had written Carey, pastor of Quinn Chapel AME Church, and other Chicago leaders asking them to lobby the Chicago-based National City Lines. By mid-February, after receiving few responses from Chicago, King expressed disappointment that the MIA “requested support from some of our Chicago leaders and did not [receive] an answer or support.” 1 A day after King’s arrest, Carey asks how he and others in the North can assist the bus boycott.
Reverend M. L. King, Jr.
Dear Brother King:
I have watched with intense interest and admiration the performance of Negro-Americans in the Montgomery bus strike. I certainly want to salute your own magnificent leadership in it. Be comforted by knowing that there are tens of thousands who are giving you their support and their prayers. May God bless and keep you through these trying hours.
Now, I would like to know what we, particularly in the North, can do to help. I have thought of taking a collection at Quinn Chapel and perhaps stimulating some others around here to raise money. On the other hand, I do not wish to do anything that would in any way jeopardize or upset your own program. I know the damage that could be done to your cause by any proof that your effort was either being financed by northern money or directed by outside influence. That is why I am consulting you first.
If you will kindly indicate to me that it’s all right, I will take such an offering and I will send it directly to you for you to use in any way you, personally, see fit. I saw your father in Atlanta (I think it was) a few weeks ago but it was before all of this business had developed. Again, God bless you and let me know what either I or others that I may contact may do to help you.
Kind regards to your wife and little one.
1. Quoted in Frances Jett, Proceedings of the Montgomery, Alabama Bus Boycott Conference, 13 February 1956. See also King to Carey, 27 December 1955, pp. 93-95 in this volume.
AJC-ICHi, Archibald James Carey Collection, Chicago History Museum, Chicago, Ill.