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From H. Edward Whitaker

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Author: Whitaker, H. (Horace) Edward (New Hope Baptist Church)

Date: September 15, 1954

Location: Niagara Falls, N.Y.

Genre: Letter

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


Whitaker inquires about King’s assessment of the recently concluded National Baptist Convention’s annual meeting.

Dear Mike,

For quite a little while I have been intending to write, but the work here has been most confining and trying. I now know what it is to be put through the mills. Things are, however working out to our favor after much effort. We have finally arranged for the financing of our Church, and the building of the same. Construction will begin in about another week. We had our groundbreaking ceremony on the 1st Sunday. This will be the first real Negro Church to be built in our city though attempts have been made since 1914. We feel very thankful to have a small part to do with the realization of this long delayed dream. The need for such facilities here are great and I am sure it will be well supported in years to come.

I regret so very much the fact that I was not home the other week when you called It would have been a great joy to have talked with you.

You have my hearty congratulations for allowing yourself to be called to the Dexter Street Baptist Church. From what you say and from what some of my members here who know the Church, it is really a wonderful Church. I am sure you will do a good job. We are praying for your success. I am sure I need not say be careful, be watchful in all things.

Tell me about the National Baptist Convention. Has Dr. Jackson been able to get any progressive program in operation. How were the sessions this year? Were they orderly? What improvement has been made in the organizational structure? Perhaps it is too early to get very much started. It does take time to lift people out of a rut. I suppose every one was there, as usual. I really hated to miss the session, but my need here was greater than there, I am sure

Have you seen McCall since going on your field there. I suppose he will go back to Fort Valley this year. Poor fellow he is still talking about getting married. One of these days he is going to fool himself and wake up married. But marriage is what he needs, and I hope he can find it convenient to do so before long.

How is your wife? Well I hope. How do you like your field of labor? I am sure it is a real challenge

If I am fortunate in my plans, I expect to make a tour through the southland either this winter or late spring. My wife has never been south of Virginia and I would like for her to see the real Negro Cultural Centers before she is too old to enjoy & appreciate it When we make the trip, you can be sure that we will let you know and plan to spend a day with you.

Well, ole timer, whatever you do, be sure to “preach the word,” in season and out of season.” Declare the “Thus saith the Lord” With kind regards & best wishes, I remain

[signed] Whit

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

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