Skip to content Skip to navigation

From Helen M. Hiller

Hiller, Helen M.
June 4, 1956
Mattapoisett, Mass.
Montgomery Bus Boycott


King responded to Hiller on 6 July.1

Rev. Martin Luthur King, Jr.
309 South Jackson St.,
Montgomery, Ala.

Dear Rev. King:

Please forgive me for what I am going to say. You may be the most humble person in the world, but you now hold a position of great responsibility. You are supported by true Christians every{where) You have suddenly (comparatively) become world famous. There must be a temptation to boast—to “put on airs”. That would be to the advantage of the opposition and must not be.

The greatest are the humblest. They are the meek and lowly. There is power in simplicity. “The meek shall inherit the earth”.2 One must be neat and clean but not wear showy or expensive clothing. The furnishing of the home and table must sufficient for health and efficiency only. Of course there may be special occasions which are exceptions.

You show great strength in your leadership for non-violence and love. Probably the same is true for humility because you follow your Master. I have no excuse whatever for writing this, but wanted to be sure you drove a Dodge and not a Cadillac.

Very sincerely,
[signed] Helen M. Hiller

P.S. I’m glad Clarence Pickett visited you. He is one of our greatest Quakers.

1. See p.315 in this volume.

2. Matthew 5:5.


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