Congressman Diggs had attended King's trial in March and raised funds for the Montgomery struggle on his weekly radio show.1 This message was sent to King in Detroit, where he was speaking at a civil rights rally organized by a group of ministers that included Jesse Jai McNeil. On 26 April King thanked Diggs and those in Detroit for their contribution. He also acknowledged Diggs’s role in focusing national attention on Montgomery: "I cannot adequately express our gratitude to you and other friends who are responsible for the tremendous interest shown in our behalf."
the reverend martin l king, care bethel ame church
585 fredrick stdet=deliver 730 pme
yesterday i sent to your office in montgomery $1,836.12 which represents the balance of monies collected through appeals over the house of diggs radio program.2 this makes a total of $4,436.12 which we have collected and turned over to you to aid the cause of the negro people of your city.
i deeply regret that pressure of activities here in washington prevents me from being at the rally and personally welcoming you to detroit. your cherished leadership in the fight for equality for all people is an indestructible monument which will defy the ravages of time. may god keep you and your disciples in montgomery forever strong
charles c diggs jr member of congress
1. Charles C. Diggs, Jr. (1922-), attended the University of Michigan (1940-1942) and Fisk University (1942-1943) before receiving a degree from Wayne State University’s School of Mortuary Science (1946). In 1952 he graduated from the Detroit College of Law. During his first year of law school Diggs won a seat in the Michigan state senate, and in 1954 he became Michigan’s first African-American member of the House of Representatives, a seat he held until 1980. Diggs Enterprises, Inc., gave King an award for outstanding contributions in the field of religion at its “Panorama of Progress” held 30 June–4 July 1956, although King was unable to attend (Charles C. Diggs, Sr., et al., to King, 8 May 1956; King to Diggs, Jr., 10 April 1956; and Diggs Enterprises, Inc., Program, Panorama of Progress, 4 July 1956.)
2. See Diggs to King, 19 April 1956.
MLKP, MBU, Martin Luther King, Jr., Papers, 1954-1968, Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center, Boston University, Boston, Mass.