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Draft, Resignation from Dexter Avenue Baptist Church

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Author: King, Martin Luther, Jr.

Date: November 29, 1959 ?

Location: Montgomery, Ala. ?

Genre: Speech

Topic: Martin Luther King, Jr. - Career in Ministry

Montgomery Bus Boycott


King announced his resignation following Sunday services at Dexter and may have used this handwritten draft to frame his remarks. According to a news account, after King spoke three elderly women stood up in protest and looked about “to see if others would join them.” Twelve parishioners eventually rose to demonstrate. One man explained: “We weren’t just going to give him up without some kind of fight. But we were not against him, we just wanted to show our regret.”1

A little more than five years ago I accepted the patorate of this Church. We started out at that moment on a great and creative spiritual venture. You responded to my program with a cooperative spirit that could hardly be duplicated anywhere. At that time my only desire was to serve the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church to the best of my ability

Little did I know when I came to Dexter that in a few months a movement would commence in Montgomery that would change the course of my life forever. But history always preserves for itself unpredictable. [acts?] still has its unpredictable qualities and it reserves for itself elements of creative. Unknowingly and unexpectedly, I was catapulted into the leadership of a movement whose the Montgomery movement. At points I was unprepared for the symbolic role that history had thrust upon me But there was [strikeout illegible]

Everything happened so quickly {& spontaneously} that I had no time to think through the implications of such leadership. At points I was unprepared for the symbolic role that history had thrust upon me. But there was no way out. I, like [everything?] in Montgomery, was pulled into the mainstream by the rolling tide of historical necessity.

As a result of my leadership in the Montgomery movement my duties and [strikeout illegible] activities tripled. A multiplicity of new responsibilities poured in upon me in almost staggering torrents. So I ended up in the futily attempting to be four or five men in one.

One would have expected that many of these responsibilities would have tappered off after the boycott. But now three years after the termination of the bus struggle the same situaton stands. At points the demands have increased.

1. “Why Rev. M. L. King Is Leaving Montgomery: Leader Says Time Is Ripe to Extend Work In Dixie,” Jet, 17 December 1959, p. 16.

Source: MLKJP, GAMK, Martin Luther King, Jr. Papers (Series I-IV), Martin Luther King, Jr., Center for Nonviolent Social Change, Inc., Atlanta, Ga.

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