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From Eunice Guy

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Author: Guy, Eunice (Wiley College)

Date: March 5, 1956

Location: Marshall, Texas

Genre: Letter

Topic: Montgomery Bus Boycott


Guy, an English teacher at Wiley College, visited the King family often while attending Spelman College.1

Dear M. L.,

Just a few lines to let you know that I am among the millions of well-wishers who watch with pride and interest the up-heaval in Montgomery and pray earnestly for your personal safety and for the cause you champion. One can’t pick up a national magazine or paper, nor listen to a news report or watch a telecast without your name being mentioned.2

I would have written much sooner, but didn’t have your address nor the name of the church you pastor. Then it occurred to me that you would get mail addressed simply: M. L. King, U.S.A. (SMILE)

Remember how I used to tease you about playing the girls so cool? Never did I dream that God could use that particular talent of yours. You certainly got plenty practice.

Seriously though, that calmness & coolness of yours, that ability to control your emotions effectively has kept the whole boycott from breaking into violence.

I saw the picture of you & your family that appeared in Jet a couple of weeks ago.3 You must have a very brave little wife. Frankly, I believe I would have taken suitcase in hand and baby in arms and made a 100 yard dash for the hills long ago.

We have a little girl now—she’s almost fourteen months old.

Did you know that Perry’s sister (La Verne Weston) and David Briddell were married last July? He is pastoring in Cristfield, Maryland. They were all set to move into the apartment in Boston for a long stay when the offer came.4

Did you ever meet my sister, Clarie? She’s living in Atlanta & is librarian at Carver Vocational. She married Wendell Whalum from Memphis (Harold’s brother).5

My brother, Fred married Altoise Chennault. They’re in Nashville now; this is his second year at Meharry Dental School.

My younger brother William received a grant for a year’s study abroad & is now in France. He says Frenchmen find it very difficult to believe that over a hundred people can be arrested for staging a peaceful boycott!!

I find it hard to believe that anybody could get so many Negroes to cooperate for so long!!

[signed] Eunice

P.S. My regards to your parents & sister when you see or write them.6 We were in Atlanta for two days in September. I went out to the house but picked a time when no one was at home. So, I didn’t get a chance to see any of the Kings.

1. Eunice Guy (1930-), born in Little Rock, Arkansas, earned her B.A. from Spelman in 1949. After finishing her M.A. (1951) at Atlanta University she taught for several years at Wiley College in Marshall, Texas, before moving on to Texas Southern University in Houston in 1956, where she has continued her teaching career.

2. On 24 April she informed King of a lecture given at Wiley College by Shaun Herron, editor of the British Weekly, who had said, “There is not a newspaper reader in the civilized world that does not know about this man King.”

3. “How Alabama Negroes Are Winning the Bus Fight: Bombing, Harassment Don’t Stop,” Jet, 16 February 1956, pp. 8-12.

4. David W. Briddell (1931-), born in Berlin, Maryland, received his B.A. (1952) from Morgan State University and his M.S.T. (1955) from Boston University, where he participated in the Dialectical Society with King. He later served as pastor of Methodist churches in Maryland and Pennsylvania. LaVerne Weston (1930-), born in Houston, studied at Texas Southern University and at the New England Conservatory of Music, where she was Coretta Scott King’s classmate.

5. Wendell Whalum (1931- 1987), born in Memphis, Tennessee, received his B.A. (1952) from Morehouse, his M.A. (1953) from Columbia University, and his Ph.D. (1965) from the University of Iowa. He joined the Morehouse faculty in 1953 as a professor of music and served as director of the music department from 1961 until his death in 1987.

6. Willie Christine King Farris (1927-), born in Atlanta, Georgia, earned her B.A. (1948) from Spelman College. After receiving her M.A. (1950) in the social foundations of education from Columbia University, she taught elementary school in Atlanta. During the summers she returned to Columbia, studying for a master’s in special education, which was awarded in 1958. An associate professor of education at Spelman College since 1958, she currently directs its Learning Resource Center. She is a member of the Martin Luther King, Jr., Papers Project Advisory Board and the vice chair and treasurer of the Martin Luther King, Jr., Center for Nonviolent Social Change, Inc.

Source: MLKP-MBU, Martin Luther King, Jr., Papers, 1954-1968, Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center, Boston University, Boston, Mass.

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