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To Gardner C. Taylor

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Author: King, Martin Luther, Jr.

Date: December 23, 1958

Location: Montgomery, Ala.?

Genre: Letter

Topic: Martin Luther King, Jr. - Family


King thanks Taylor for supporting him during his recovery. Taylor lived less than a block from the Brooklyn home where King convalesced, and he visited King regularly.1 On 3 January Taylor replied that King had "confused the balance sheet in a shameless and an almost unforgivable way: we are your debtors, and I fear no matter what we do we shall never get even."

Dr. Gardner C. Taylor, Minister
Concord Baptist Church
833 Marcy Avenue
Brooklyn 16, New York

Dear Gardner:

Ever since leaving New York I have been intending to drop you and Laura a note. But as usual, things accumulated so much in my absence that I have been playing the game of catch up ever since leaving your city.

As you know, there is a word in Catholic theology called supererrogation which means in substance, more than justice requires. I can assure you that the many courtesies that you and Laura extended to Coretta and me during a very difficult period of our life constituted a work of supererrogation. I only hope that in some minor way we will be able to repay you some day.

I had planned to be back in New York before now, but several important things here in the South have demanded my attention to the point of keeping me stationary. I do plan to be in New York on the 12th and 13th of January. I hope it will be possible to see you at that time, and also discuss some integration problems. Please let me know if you will be in town.

I hope things are going well with you in all of your activities. I am sure that you are as busy as ever.

Coretta and the children are doing fine. She joins me in extending best wishes to you and Laura.

Hoping for you, Laura and your lovely daughter a joyous Christmas and a new year packed with meaningful fulfillment.2 I am

Sincerely yours,


1. Taylor, Interview by King Papers Project staff, 12 August 1998.

2. King refers to Taylor's wife and their daughter, Martha.

Source: MLKP-MBU, Martin Luther King, Jr., Papers, 1954-1968, Boston University, Boston, Mass.

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