Nixon expresses admiration for King's handling of his arrest by Montgomery police officers. King replied on 16 September.1
Rev. M. L. King, Jr. President
Montgomery Improvement Association
454 Dexter Avenue
Dear Rev. King;
Doing your episode with the Montgomery Police department a few days ago I did not agree with you in the first part on sept. 3rd. the chance was to great to take behind close doors with the polices, but on the second part on Sept. 5th. when you choosed to serve time than to pay a fine was the most courageous stand made in that direction since Byard Rustin, serve time in Carolina,.2
And because of your courage in face of known danger I want to commend you for your stand for the people of color all over the world, and especial the people in Montgomery,
Your action took the fear out of the Negroes and made the white man see himself as he is.
Again thanking you for your contribution toward Negroes freedom.
Very Truly Yours
E. D. Nixon
1. See pp. 494-495 in this volume.
2. During the Fellowship of Reconciliation's "Journey of Reconciliation" in April 1947, Rustin was arrested in Chapel Hill for violating North Carolina's statute prohibiting racially integrated seating in public transportation. He was sentenced to thirty days (later reduced to twenty-two) on a chain gang. In August 1949 the New York Post printed a five-part series by Rustin entitled "Twenty-two Days on a Chain Gang," which sparked a prison reform movement in North Carolina.
MLKP-MBU, Martin Luther King, Jr., Papers, 1954-1968, Boston University, Boston, Mass.