Responding to Thomas's letter of 28 August, King updates him about the situation in Montgomery and expresses uncertainty about whether he can find time to write a proposed book about the bus boycott.
Dr. Cecil A. Thomas, Associate Secretary
University Young Men's Christian Association
2400 Bancroft Way
Berkeley 4, California
This letter is long over due. I have been intending to write you and Fran for several weeks, but absence from the city and the accumulation of a flood of mail prevented my reply. Please accept my deepest apologies. Coretta and I can never adequately express our appreciation to you and Fran for the interest that you have taken in us personally and the whole Montgomery struggle. I can assure you that such moral support and christian generosity give us renewed courage and vigor to carry on.
Things are going well around Montgomery. The community is still amazingly united. We have had some recent difficulty with getting our station wagons insured. About three weeks ago the insurance company cancelled the policies on all of our station wagons which made it impossible for us to leave them in operation. For a while it looked rather dark; it appeared that we would find no company to take the insurance. But finally a ray of light came in through the Lords of London Insurance Company which willingly accepted the policy. Our station wagons are now in operation once more. The Supreme Court reconvenes within the next few days, and we are waiting now its verdict on the question of segregation in public transportation. We feel that the decision should come relatively soon due to the fact our case is a priority case. (It is a priority case because an injunction is involved.)
I am still deeply interested in writing the book that you and Fran have suggested. Nothing would satisfy me more but I am confronted with a great problem: Instead of my work decreasing, in the last few weeks it has increased. My personal correspondence is as high as ever, and the work of the Association is expanding every day. Invitations for speaking engagements still come in in large numbers. All of this causes me to wonder whether I would actually have the time to do such a book. I would not like to accept the grant from the Fund for the Republic that you have so graciously inquired about without knowing in advance that I could complete the project. By the way, if the grant is given is there any stipulation stating that the book must be published? In the light of these prevailing circumstances I would like for you to write me concerning your impressions. Frankly, I just don’t see how I weill be able to do it in the next two or three months.
Give my best regards to Fran. Coretta and Yolanda are doing fine. Coretta appeared in a recital yesterday afternoon at our church and she sang to a full house.1 The concert was brilliantly done and well accepted.
M. L. King, Jr.,
P.S. You made inquiry concerning Rev. H. L. Clements. He is the pastor of the Mt. Zion A.M.E. Zion Church on Holt Street. He formerly pastored the church that Rev. Bennett pastors in San Francisco. He is a member of of the Executive Board of the Montgomery Improvement Association. So I am sure that his request is well founded.
1. The concert at Dexter occurred on 30 September 1956 (see “Echo Echoes Recital,” Dexter Echo, 3 October 1956, p. 4 ).
MLKP-MBU, Martin Luther King, Jr., Papers, 1954-1968, Boston University, Boston, Mass.