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To Billy Graham

Author: 
King, Martin Luther, Jr. (Southern Christian Leadership Conference)
Date: 
July 23, 1958
Location: 
Atlanta, Ga.
Genre: 
Letter
Topic: 
Martin Luther King, Jr. - Political and Social Views

Details

On 15 July, C. William Black, Jr., of First Baptist Church in San Antonio, wired King regarding a planned appearance of Texas governor Price Daniel at a Billy Graham rally: "We are appealing to you to wire Dr. Graham . . . .and inform him that such support of a segregationist will do great harm to the Negro throughout the South."1 In a 29 July letter Black thanked King for sending the following to Graham.

Rev. Billy Graham
The Billy Graham HDQ
San Antonio, Texas

Dear Brother Graham:

The Reverand G. William Black, President of Baptist Ministers Union of San Antonio, has called to our attention a matter of serious import to the Negro Ministers of that city. Namely, that the special invitation to Governor Price Daniel to introduce you at the San Antonio Ralley on Friday, July 25th carries political overtones designed to humiliate the Negro citizentry of Texas ans the South.

If Governor Daniels is identities with you on the eve of the Democratic Primary, July 26, in which Mr. Daniel is seeking reelection it can well be interpreted as your endorsement of racial segregation and discrimination.2

Under the circumstances we would hope thatGovernor Daniels participation on your program might be avoided. If this in not done, we urge you to make crystal clear your position on this burning moral issue. For any implied indorsement by you of segregation can have damaging effect on the struggle of Negro Americans for human dignity and will greatly reduce the importance of your message to them as a Christian Minister who believes in the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man.

Rev. Martin L. King, Jr.
President

Southern Christian Leadership Conference
208 Auburn Avenue, N.E.
Atlanta, Georgia

1. In his 1952 campaign for the U.S. Senate, Daniel ran on a states’ rights platform and won the election without opposition. In 1956 Daniel was closely involved in rewriting the original draft of the “Southern Manifesto,” denouncing the Supreme Court’s Brown decision. He served two terms as governor of Texas, from 1957 to 1963.

2. After securing his party’s nomination in the primary, Daniel won the governor’s race with sixty percent of the vote.

Source: 

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