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From H. Councill Trenholm

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Author: Trenholm, H. Councill (Harper Councill) (Alabama State College) 

Date: May 2, 1955

Location: Montgomery, Ala.

Genre: Letter

Topic: Martin Luther King, Jr. - Career in Ministry


Trenholm, president of Alabama State College and a deacon at Dexter, invites King to give the baccalaureate sermon at Alabama State’s commencement.1 King accepted the invitation.2

Dr. M. L. King, Jr.
303 S. Jackson Street
Montgomery, Alabama

IN RE: Sunday Afternoon, May 15

Dear Dr. King:

I herewith extend to you the invitation to serve as the baccalaureate minister for our 1955 May commencement on Sunday afternoon, May 15, at 3:30 at the College Gymnasium.

At that time we will have approximately 300 candidates for the baccalaureate degree and possibly 8 candidates for the master of education degree. The nineteen candidates for the senior high school diploma also share that baccalaureate service although their graduation is not until May 27.

From the enclosed copy of the program of last year, you will note the organization of the program. We have just the brief “atmosphere program” preceding your message. We also “introduce you” through the statement on the program for which we will ask Mr. Brooks to obtain the necessary information. It is our pleasure to have our baccalaureate minister to share the reception to the graduates and we shall be hopeful that it will be convenient for you and Mrs. King to share that occasion.

We should like also to extend to you and Mrs. King the invitation to be our house guests for the dinner courtesy preceding the exercises and at such hour as may be most acceptable in relation to your obligations for that day.

I also take this occasion to extend congratulations upon your having completed the work for your doctor’s degree.

Pleased to look forward to your reply in confirmation of the preliminary indication which you made in my requested exploratory conversation through Mr. Brooks, I am

Yours very truly,
H. Councill Trenholm


cc: Mr. J. T. Brooks

1. Harper Councill Trenholm (1900–1963) received his A.B. from Morehouse in 1920 and his baccalaureate in philosophy from the University of Chicago in 1921. He was president of Alabama State College from 1925 to 1960.

2. Trenholm to King, Jr., 15 May 1955, MLKP-MBU, confirms participation.

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

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