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To Dorothy S. Bowles

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

Date: December 5, 1956

Location: Montgomery, Ala.?

Genre: Letter

Topic: Martin Luther King, Jr. - Political and Social Views

Martin Luther King, Jr. - Travels


In November Bowles asked to meet with King and Coretta Scott King while they were in New York for an 11 December United Negro College Fund—sponsored symposium entitled “The Negro Southerner Speaks.” 1Bowles wrote that she and her husband, U.S. ambassador to India Chester Bowles, were going to India, and she knew “how interested many Indians will be to know more about the program of the Montgomery Improvement Association.” King replies that his schedule probably does not allow time for a meeting.

Mrs. Dorothy S. Bowles 
Essex, Connecticut

Dear Mrs. Bowles:

This is to acknowledge receipt of your very kind letter of November 23.

I would be more than happy to have the personal interview with you while I am in New York City. However, due to pressing needs here in Montgomery, it seems that I will not arrive in New York until just a few hours before the Symposium and I will have to leave almost immediately afterwards. In the light of this I cannot make a definite commitment. If I find that it will be possible for me to be in New York longer than I now plan, I will be very happy to contact you for an appointment.

Thanks again for your interest in our struggle. Your encouraging words and great moral support are of inestimable value in the continuance of our struggle.

May I close by saying that I have long known of the great work of your husband. To my mind he is one of the greatest statesmen of our nation and of our age. His contribution to national and international relationships will remain in our thoughts so long as the cords of memory shall lengthen.

Very sincerely yours, 
M. L. King, Jr., 


(Dictated by Dr. King but signed in his absence.)

1. Dorothy Stebbins Bowles (1903–1989), born in Newton, Massachusetts, earned a B.A. from Vassar and an M.A. (1924) from Smith College. She became a social worker in Boston and later national secretary for the Junior League. Her husband, Chester Bowles (1901–1986), who served as ambassador to India from 1951 to 1953 and 1963 to 1969, wrote extensively on U.S. relations with developing nations.

Source: MLKP, MBU, Martin Luther King, Jr., Papers, 1954-1968, Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center, Boston University, Boston, Mass.

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