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From Harry Emerson Fosdick

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Author: Fosdick, Harry Emerson

Date: November 17, 1958

Location: New York, N.Y.

Genre: Letter

Topic: Montgomery Bus Boycott


King inscribed a copy of Stride to Fosdick, minister emeritus at New York’s Riverside Church: “lf I were called upon to select the greatest preacher of this century, I would choose your name. If I were called upon to select the foremost prophets of our generation, I would choose you to head the list. If I were called upon to select the Christian saints of our day, again I would have to place you on the list. Because of all these things and the inspiration that youve been to me, I present you with this book.” 1

Rev. Martin Luther King,
309 South Jackson Street,
Montgomery, Alabama.

Dear Mr. King:

I cannot tell you how deeply I appreciate your good will and generosity in sending me a copy of your book Stride Toward Freedom inscribed with the very kindly words you wrote.

Of course I read your book when it first came out. It is one of the most important books in its field that has ever been published, and, as perhaps you know, I made a statement about it that the publishers have been using in their advertising. We are all unpayably in your debt, not only for what you did but for putting the story down where thousands of people can read it.

As for that inscription, my dear friend, I never possibly could deserve it. I am a very humble minister of the church and while I have had to fight a good fight several times in my life, I am sure that I never faced the kind of problem that you face with anything like the courage that you have so magnificently displayed. I am sure you know without my saying so with what intimate care and sympathy we here in the North share with you the struggle you are carrying on in the South.

God bless you always and always, and thanks again for your generous goodwill in sending me this inscribed book!

Faithfully yours,
[signed] Harry Emerson Fosdick

1. King, Inscription to Harry Emerson Fosdick, November 1958.

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

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