In May, Page wrote King suggesting he lead a migration to Africa: “Quit begging the white people for something you know that they are not going to do. Let us wake up the Lord has already open[ed] the way for us if we will only [accept] it and that way is in Ghana.” 1
Mr. Edward H. Page
768 Bailey Street
Schenectady 3, New York
Dear Mr. Page:
Thanks for your letter of May 25, with suggestions that we mobilize large groups of Negroes to emigrate to Africa, thus getting away from a problem which will never be solved in America. While I am deeply sympathetic with your point, I must confess that I do not think this is the solution to the problem. I feel that the race problem will eventually be solved in America, and all men of this nation will be able to live together as brothers. To have a mass return to Africa would merely be running from the problem and not facing it courageously. This, I think, is the challenge before us, to stay here and work out the problem in a non-violent spirit. We have no more right to return to Africa than the hundreds of imigrants from other countries have to return to their countries. We are American citizens, and we deserve our rights here in this nation. I feel that God has marvelous plans for this world and this nation and we must have the faith to believe that one day these plans will materialize.
Very sincerely yours,
M. L. King, Jr.,
(Dictated by Rev. King, but transcribed and signed in his absence.)
1. Edward H. Page, Jr. (1922-1992), born in Wyding, West Virginia, was a self-employed truck driver. In a 2 August letter Page again urged King to promote a return-to-Africa movement: ‘You know when the Children of israel was having such a hard time in Egypt. . . . The Lord could have blessed them there in Egypt. But he didn’t do it he sent a leader to take them out to a better land.”
MLKP-MBU, Martin Luther King, Jr., Papers, 1954-1968, Boston University, Boston, Mass.