NAACP field secretary Clarence Laws forwarded this letter from Bishop de la Brunelière to King, noting that “the courageous and sacrificial stand of Negro citizens of Montgomery is having a world wide impact on peoples everywhere.”1 Bishop de la Brunelière had read about the boycott in the Parisian Catholic newspaper La Croix. On 10 June King thanked him for his support.
Dear Reverend Pastor,
I am a frenchman and Bishop of Martinique F.W.I. In “La Croix” one of Paris’s leading catholic news papers, I read an article written about the injustices inspired by the decision handed down by the Supreme Court condemning segregation. In this article a full account is given of your heroic struggle against these injustices. Your cause is a juste one. You wish to defend it in an excellent way, one truly inspired by the bible: “Conquer evil in doing good”. Do not triumph against the white man; triump with him. He is a vitim of the prejudices whose author he is.
I wished to publicize your way of seeing and acting through the enclosed article which appeared in the catholic paper of Martinique. I should like to say that the colored people of the USA and you especially, Reverend dear Pastor, have our deepest sympathy. Perhaps you are aware of the fact that our spirituel leader, Pope Pius XII shortly after his election to the Papacy manifested his deep sympathy for the colored people of your country who deserve it so well because of the long and hard trials which have been inflicted upon them by these injustices.
Further proof of his devotion to the cause of the colored race and his rejection of race discrimination is shown by the fact that he has consecrated thirteen negro bishops of Africa two of them in recent months. I thank God for it.
The cause for which the colored people are fighting is a just one and I pray daily that victory shall be yours. Reverend and dear Sir, please be assured of my continued sympathy and my cordial devotion.
Sincerely Yours in Jesus Christ.
[signed] Henri Varin de la Brunelière
bishop of Martinique
1 Clarence A. Laws to King, 22 May 1956.
MLKP-MBU, Martin Luther King, Jr., Papers, 1954-1968, Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center, Boston University, Boston, Mass.