Stanley, editor of the Louisville Defender and general president of Alpha Phi Alpha, pledges the support of the oldest African-American college fraternity, which King had joined in 1952 at Boston University.1 King’s response to this letter has not been located, but the notation “answered” appears on it.
Reverend M. L. King
309 South Jackson
Dear Brother King:
Alpha is proud of the leadership that you have given to the bus segregation protest movement in your city.
We realize the trying hours you are experiencing as the object of a white council-countrolled police department, and bombwielding segregationists. But by the grace of God, you have been spared to continue the fight.
Twenty-four thousand Alphas and millions of other Negroes fight with you, even though removed from the immediate scene of your battlefront. You have but to call on us, your Brothers, if we can be of any material assistance. We are already with you spiritually. At least, I personally and officially want to keep in close touch with you in this period of peril.
I know you cannot communicate afar too easily, but your story should be kept alive, at least until victory is won over those who would still deny you full and unsegregated access to your city transportation facilities.
Saturday, February 4, I shall be meeting in Buffalo, New York, with the Central Committee of the Executive Council. If there is any information you think should be given Alpha, call me at the Statler Hotel. Further, I will arrange to come to Montgomery, if you desire.2
May God keep you as you vigorously endeavor to demonstrate that the brotherhood of man was intended for practical application here on earth—even in Montgomery, Alabama.
Fraternally and sincerely,
Frank L. Stanley, General President
1. Frank Leslie Stanley, Sr. (1906-1974), born in Chicago and raised in Kentucky, received his B.A. (1929) from Atlanta University. Stanley joined the staff of the Louisville Defender in 1933, becoming editor and general manager in 1936. He was editor and publisher until his death. He served as general president of Alpha Phi Alpha from 1955 to 1957.
2. After King and several other Alphas were indicted for their role in the bus boycott, Stanley, general secretary James Huger, and southern vice president Lewis O. Swingler traveled to Montgomery to offer moral and financial support (see Stanley to King, 22 March 1956, pp. 201 -202 in this volume).
MLKP-MBU, Martin Luther King, Jr., Papers, 1954-1968, Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center, Boston University, Boston, Mass.