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To Clarence L. Jordan

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Author: King, Martin Luther, Jr. (Dexter Avenue Baptist Church)

Date: February 8, 1957

Location: Montgomery, Ala.?

Genre: Letter

Topic: Montgomery Bus Boycott


Throughout 1956 and 1957 the members of Koinonia Farm, an interracial Christian cooperative community in Americus, Georgia, had been harassed, shot at, and bombed for their stand against segregation. 1On 26 January Jordan, a co-founder of Koinonia, contacted King for insurance advice, reporting that the farm's insurance had been “cancelled so much that we have exhausted every source we know.” 2

Dr. Clarence L. Jordan
Koinonia Community
Route 2
Americus, Georgia 

Dear Dr. Jordan:

This is to acknowledge receipt of your letter of January 26, making inquiry concerning our insurance. It is quite true that our station wagons are covered through Lloyds of London. This contact was made for us through Alexander and Company in Atlanta, Georgia. So I would suggest that you contact Mr. Alexander and have him make direct contact with Lloyds of London.3 I am sure that he would be more than happy to do it.

You and the Koinonia Community have been in my prayers continually for the last several months. The injustices and indignities that you are now confronting certainly leave you in trying moments. I hope, however, that you will gain consolation from the fact that in your struggle for freedom and a true Christian community you have cosmic companionship. God grant that this tragic midnight of man’s inhumanity to man will soon pass and the bright daybreak of freedom and brotherhood will come into being. 

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

(Dictated by Rev. King, but signed in his absence.)

1. On 14 January the farm’s roadside market was set on fire, causing nearly $7,000 in damage; four days later another building on the farm was burned to the ground, and arson was attempted on the barn of a sympathetic neighbor (Koinonia Farm, Statement in response to Sumter County Grand Jury presentments, May 1957).

2. Clarence Leonard Jordan (1912-1969), born in Talbotton, Georgia, earned a B.S. (1933) from the University of Georgia and an M.A. (1936) and Ph.D. (1939) from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. In 1942 he co-founded Koinonia Farm. Local residents supported the farm until the summer of 1956 when segregationists organized a boycott after Jordan backed the attempt by a black member of the community to enroll at the University of Georgia; Koinonia supporters sought alternative ways to market the farm’s products, including through the MIA (Ernest Morgan to King, 15 August 1956, and King to Morgan, 27 August 1956, in Papers 3:347-348 and Papers 3:355, respectively). Jordan spoke at Dexter Church’s Spring Lecture Series in April 1958. 

3. Theodore Martin Alexander (1909—), born in Montgomery, received his B.A. (1931) from Morehouse College. The founder and president of Alexander & Company General Insurance Agency, Alexander was also prominent in Atlanta real estate and banking. A former member of Dexter, Alexander participated in King’s installation ceremony as pastor in October 1954; Alexander also delivered the banquet address at the church’s Eightieth Anniversary celebration in December 1957 and leased SCLC its first office in Atlanta in 1958. 

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

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