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From B. J. Simms

Simms, B. J. (Montgomery Improvement Association)
October 26, 1956
Montgomery, Ala.
Montgomery Bus Boycott


Simms, a Baptist minister and Alabama State College professor, had served as director of transportation for the MIA carpool for five months.1 On 13 September the MIA executive board asked him to reimburse the organization for car pool funds that he had apparently misplaced, an action that may have prompted him to resign the post.2 Simms subsequently assumed a new leadership position as the MIA's promotional director.

To the President and members of the Executive Committee of The Montgomery Improvement Association, Inc.

Dear Brethren:

For nearly seven months I have labored and given my all to the association and the people of Montgomery for the cause of freedom. I have done my best in spite of many hinderances and obstacles placed in my path. In spite of the above road blocks and difficulties in my path, I have labored without stint and given my all to the movement. I have now, after careful consideration, decided that I cannot, under the present conditions, continue in the position as Director of Transportation. I am therefore submitting my resignation to be effective at once or no later than Wednesday, October 31, 1956. In submitting my resignation I wish it known that I am not severing my association with the organization and that I will therefore continue to cooperate with all my heart towards the successful attainment of our goal of dignity and freedom for all.

In closing, I wish to thank all who supported me in my efforts to effect a workable transportation system for our people, for without your support and encouragement I could not have gone on under the existing conditions of which I have had to work.

Respectfully submitted
(Rev.) B. J. Simms, Director

1. B. J. Simms (1904-), a native of Alabama, came to Montgomery in 1931 to attend Alabama State College. He served as the first principal of Alabama State Laboratory High School, a black high school in Montgomery. After receiving a scholarship (sponsored by Dexter Avenue Baptist Church) to pursue divinity studies at Oberlin College, Simms was ordained a Baptist minister in 1942 and received a master of theology from Oakland College. During World War II he helped establish a USO branch for African Americans. In 1946 Simms became chaplain of Alabama State and later a professor of history, while serving as an itinerant minister on weekends. Simms was appointed chair of the transportation committee to reform the car pool system and served on the MIA executive board. He was among those indicted for his role in the boycott.

2. W. J. Powell, Minutes, MIA Executive Board Meeting, 13 September 1956.


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