On 18 October Kennedy, a 1941 Morehouse graduate and Detroit Republican activist, asked King about his position "relative to Negro people voting for Democratic candidates nationally.” In Kennedy’s view, Democratic control of the House and Senate would mean the "perpetuation of Senator Eastland's control, and the future possibility of a purged Supreme Court.” King refuses to take a public stand in the November election, unlike his father, who a week earlier had declared from his pulpit that Eisenhower's position on civil rights was "firmer" than Stevenson's.1
Mr. Earl Kennedy, Chairman
First Congressional District
Michigan Citizens for Eisenhower
400 North Capitol Avenue
Dear Mr. Kennedy:
Thanks for your very kind letter of October 18, making inquiry concerning my political position. Actually, I am not taking any public position in this election. In private opinion I find something to be desired from both parties. The Negro has been betrayed by both the Democratic and Republican Party. The Democrats have betrayed us by capitulating to the whims and caprices of the southern dixiecrats. The Republicans have betrayed us by capitulating to the blatent hypocrisy of conservative right wing northerners. This coalition of southern dixiecrats and right wing northern Republicans defeats every move toward liberal legislation in Congress. So we confront the problem of choosing the lesser of two evils. At this point I might say however, that I feel that the Negro must remain an independent voter, not becoming unduly tied to either party. He should seek to vote for the party which is more concerned with the welfare of all the people.
I was more than happy to hear from you, and of course I was very happy to know that you are an alumnus of Morehouse College. I hope it will be possible to meet you personally sometime in the near future.
M. L. King, Jr.,
(Dictated by Rev. King but signed in his absence)
1. “Rev. M. L. King, Sr., Announces His Support for Ike,” Birmingham World, 20 October 1956.
MLKP-MBU, Martin Luther King, Jr., Papers, 1954-1968, Boston University, Boston, Mass.