On 13 February Banks sent King a check to help pay for rebuilding the bombed churches in Montgomery. Banks asked King to send “a note from you personally which I could read to our congregation by way of encouraging them." King thanks members of Second Baptist Church, who had contributed more than $2,600 to the MIA during the previous year. 1
Dr. A. A. Banks, Jr., Pastor
Second Baptist Church of Detroit
441 Monroe Avenue
Detroit 26, Michigan
Dear Dr. Banks and Congregation:
On returning to my office I found your letter with the enclosed check of one thousand five hundred fifty-seven dollars and thirty-six cents ($1,557.36) from Second Baptist Chucrh on my desk. Words are inadequate for me to express my appreciation and the appreciation of the whole Negro citizenry of Montgomery for this great contribution. It comes at a time of real financial need.
I think I am correct in saying that Second Baptist Church has contributed more to the work of the Montgomery Improvement Association than any single church in America. You can never know what this means to us. Your moral support and Christian generosity are of inestimable value in the continuance of our humble efforts. We will long remember your coming to our aid at this time and your real dedication to the cause of freedom. Those of us who stand amid the tragic midnight of man’s inhumanity to man are given new courage when we discover that there are men and women of goodwill willing to support us in the struggle. Your generous support will remain in our thoughts so long as the cords of memory shall lengthen.
Yours very truly,
M. L. King, Jr.,
enclosure 1 Receipt # 6398
1. Both King and his father had preached at Second Baptist (see King’s sermon on 28 February 1954, “Rediscovering Lost Values,” in Papers 2:248-256). On 12 March 1958 King spoke at Second Baptist at an event sponsored by the church’s cultural committee (Program, Second Baptist Church cultural committee forum series, 12 March 1958; King to Banks, 25 March 1958).
DABCC-INP, Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church Collection, In Private Hands