Nixon, an early organizer of the Montgomery bus boycott and MIA treasurer since the group’s inception, expresses his frustration at “being treated as a newcomer” to the organization and resigns his position.1 On 8 July King and Abernathy met with Nixon to address his grievances, but Nixon’s dissatisfaction with the MIA persisted, and he resubmitted his resignation in November.2 King accepted the resignation on 6 March 1958.3
Rev. M. L. King, Jr., President
Montgomery Improvement Association
530-A South Union Street
This letter is addressed to you and the Board. Because I will be out of the city the last two (2) weeks in June and probably the first two (2) weeks in July, I am tending you my resignation as treasurer of the MIA to be in effect the 10th of June or sooner.
Since I have only been treasurer in name and not in reality, it will not be hard to find someone to do what I have been doing, even a school boy. I resent being treated as a newcomer to the MIA. It is my dream, hope and hard work since 1932 and I do not expect to be treated as a child.
I shall not attempt to go into all the details of the things I dislike, but as I told you before you left for the Gold Coast that I was going to resign and that whatever the reason for my resigning shall not effect my respect for the organization that is bigger than I or any of its members. I regret to have to make the decision but if it will help the organization, I am gald to make the sacrifice.
With every good wish. I am
E. D. Nixon
1. In a 1977 interview Nixon elaborated on his reasons for resigning: “I disagreed with how the records were kept. And I thought that King’s were somehow remiss. I wanted to protect my ‘open book’ reputation.” Nixon recalled that King disapproved of this approach, and that he once explained to Nixon that “you let the people know how much money you got, they won’t give you no more, or they’ll sue for it” (Steven M. Millner, “The Montgomery Bus Boycott, A Case Study in the Emergence and Career of a Social Movement,” in The Walking City, ed. David J. Garrow [Brooklyn, N.Y.: Carlson Publishing, 1989], p. 550).
2. Nixon to King, 4 November 1957. In a 15 July letter to Benjamin McLaurin of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, King agreed to speak at a testimonial dinner for Nixon, calling the proposed event “a wonderful idea” that would honor Nixon for the “great and permanent contribution that he has made for the cause of freedom here in the State of Alabama.” This dinner was later canceled, but on 13 August Abernathy delivered the main address at a similar event at Montgomery’s Holt Street Baptist Church (“Honor E. D. Nixon in Montgomery,” Associated Negro Press, 11 September 1957).
3. See pp. 376-377 in this volume.
MLKP-MBU, Martin Luther King, Jr., Papers, 1954-1968, Boston University, Boston, Mass.