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To Clair M. Cook

King, Martin Luther, Jr. (Dexter Avenue Baptist Church)
August 1, 1956
Martin Luther King, Jr. - Travels


King accepts the annual Social Justice Award from the National Religion and Labor Foundation, sharing the award with Senator Herbert H. Lehman of New York and Father John La Farge. Previous recipients included Thurgood Marshall, George Meany, Walter Reuther, and Eleanor Roosevelt. King received the award on 24 April 1957 in New York.

Dr. Clair M. Cook, Executive Director1
National Religion and Labor Foundation
3494 1/2 North High Street
Columbus 2, Ohio

Dear Dr. Cook:

This is just a note acknowledging receipt of your very kind letter of July 26, informing me that I have been selected to receive the annual award of the National Religion and Labor Foundation. I cannot begin to say how happy I am to know that I have been chosen for such an award. I will gladly accept the award with deep humility and profound gratitude.

I will be looking to hear from you concerning future developments. As soon as the date is set, please inform me so that I can place it on my calendar.

I am very happy to know that you are a fellow alumnus of Boston University. If I remember correctly, I read a portion of your dissertation on “Ethical Relativism in the thinking of Rheinhold Niebuhr.” 2

With kindest regards.

Yours very truly,
M. L. King, Jr.,


1. Clair M. Cook, born in Hartland, Minnesota, received his B.A. (1932) from Hamline University in St. Paul and his Th.D. (1953) from Boston University. He was ordained as a Methodist minister in 1935 and served churches in the northeast before joining the Religion and Labor Foundation in 1954 as associate director, becoming executive director two years later. Cook also edited Economic Justice, the organization’s news bulletin.

2. In a 27 August reply Cook informed King that “the dissertation to which you refer was not mine but that of Marvin Cook, who was there at the same time.”


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