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From Hilda S. Proctor

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Author: Proctor, Hilda S.?

Date: May 27, 1958

Location: Montgomery, Ala.?

Genre: Letter

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

Martin Luther King, Jr. - Travels


Proctor, who served as King's secretary from March until August while Maude Ballou was on maternity leave, keeps him informed about office matters while he is on the road.1

Dear Dr. King:

Everything is going calmly and SERENLY. Nothing important concerning the family has happened. Lili is working very hard and steadily on her stencils.2

The young lady from Fisk who will give a piano recital here on Sunday is up stairs practicing and I can hardly keep my mind on my work.3 It sounds wonderful . . . just like at home.

I told you about the letter from Mr. Nesbit asking Mrs. King to sing . . . for a fee, the day you speak. 4

No literature from the Travel Agency has come.

Mr. Stan Levison called to ask when, in June, you would be in Montgomery. He said that he and Mr. Rustin wanted to come down possibly while you are here during the middle of June.

Roy Wilkins called and talked with me. He said that he would very much like to have a John Brooks invited to the Clarksdale, Miss. conference.5 He said that he knew if you were here, you would most certainly do it. Brooks lives in Richmond, Va. Roy asked me to call Abernathy and ask him to invite Brooks. I did. Abernathy said he would have to call the Atlanta office to clear it. He did. The Atlanta office did not answer, so Dr. Abernathy called Richmond himself. Just called Dr. Abernathy and he has contacted Brooks and he will be there.

There is nothing more except the check which you expected from Harpers is here (I put it in your desk drawer in an envelope marked PERSONAL") for the amount you expected less commission.

Do have a nice conference and don’t worry about anything here.

Your Gal Friday

1. Hilda Stewart Proctor (1905-1984), born in Boston, Massachusetts, attended Boston University and worked for several black newspapers before moving to Alabama to assist King.

2. Proctor refers to Lillie Thomas Hunter (1929-), who served as church secretary at Dexter while attending Alabama State. Hunter was in King’s car when he was arrested in January 1956 on an alleged traffic violation, and later traveled with King’s party to Norway when he received the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize. In 1960 Hunter moved to Atlanta to work for SCLC, staying with the organization until 1970.

3. On 1 June Jessica Pettus, a student at Fisk and daughter of King’s physician and Dexter member W. D. Pettus, gave a piano recital at Dexter (Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, Program, Sunday services, 25 May 1958).

4. D. P. Nesbitt of Columbus, Georgia, wrote King on 22 May, asking that Coretta King perform when King spoke in Columbus on 1 July.

5. SCLC met in Clarksdale on 29 May. For more about the conference, see King to Eisenhower, pp. 414-415 in this volume.

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

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