Weaver, president of Chicago’s Second Ward Improvement Association, expresses concern about Rev. U. J. Fields’s recently publicized accusations of malfeasance among MIA board members. On 20 June King's secretary, Maude Ballou, responded in his absence, assuring Weaver that Fields “admitted [that his charges were totally unfounded] at the Mass Meeting the other night and confessed that he had no basis for any of it.” To Weaver's query about inconsistent addresses on MIA letterhead, Ballou responded that their office had been moved four times during the past five months.1
Mr. Martin Luther King, Jr., President
The Montgomery Improvement Association,
530-C South Union Street,
Montgomery 8, Alabama.
Dear Dr. King:
Thanks for yours of May 2nd and official receipt No. 2865 dated May 3rd acknowledging a previous contribution of mine to a most worthy cause. I am impressed with your business methods. I am attaching my check for another contribution of Five Dollars.
Note enclosed clipping from our Chicago Daily Tribune in connection with The Rev. U. J. Fields. Can you not prevail upon Rev. Fields not to defeat the great purpose and not find fault now? Especially the broadcasting disharmony - playing into the hands of our enemies. You are doing a great job for all the Negroes and citizens of all our nation. “Keep moving” are your words to us in Rockfellow Memorial Chapel University of Chicago.
I have a tape recording of Rev. Abernathy’s address in our coliseum here and your address two days later on the campus of the University of Chicago.2 He spoke to “us” while you spoke to “them.” Both are master pieces and I am playing them back all over Chicago upon request—I have many requests. Such is my pleasure.
In the spirit of love, may I offer a suggestion? You have one address on your letter head, another on the official receipt and you include a “C” in the return card on the envelope address. Why not CONSISTENTLY have ONE address and allay confusion and possible suspicion that might support Rev. Fields? I am a Life Member of our N.A.A.C.P. and the only surviving charter member of our Chicago Branch organized in 1910—forty six years ago. I am deeply interested in the success of your movement.
Lovingly and sincerely yours,
Archie L. Weaver.
1. Fields made his allegations at a mass meeting after the executive board replaced him as recording secretary. Members of his church then voted unanimously to oust him; Fields appeared before an MIA mass meeting a week later to retract the charges. Urging forgiveness, King introduced him to the crowd and said, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone” (Job 8:7; Paul Thompson, “Negro Cleric Retracts Charges of Bus Boycott Fund Misuse,” Montgomery Advertiser, 19 June 1956). See also Press Release, Rev. Fields’s Retraction, 18 June 1956.
2. Ralph Abernathy spoke at an 11 April 1956 NAACP rally at the Chicago Coliseum. Two days later King gave a speech entitled “The Declaration of Independence and the Negro” at the Rockefeller Memorial Chapel at the University of Chicago. He ended that speech, as he did others, by urging those who “can’t run, walk; if you can’t walk, crawl, but keep moving forward!” (quoted in Theodore Silver, “Rev. King: Alabama Moses,” American Negro, June 1956, p. 15).
MLKP-MBU, Martin Luther King, Jr., Papers, 1954-1968, Boston University, Boston, Mass.