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To Hilda S. Proctor

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Author: King, Martin Luther, Jr.

Date: December 22, 1958

Location: Montgomery, Ala.?

Genre: Letter


After assisting King in New York as he recuperated from his stabbing, Proctor went to Los Angeles to be with her daughter, who was expecting a baby. On 2 December she wrote King asking if he had received material that she sent to Montgomery before leaving New York: “I imagine you have received it or you would have sent the FBI after me.” Proctor also sent King a bill for expenses she had incurred in New York since his departure. 

Mrs. H. S. Proctor
1412 Victoria Avenue
Los Angeles 19, California

Dear Hilda:

After not hearing from you for several weeks I concluded that you had gone into exile. I am happy to know that you are still involved in everyday activities and you have not left the hurly burly of big city life.

I did receive the material from Mary Richardson and I was very happy to get it.1 Thanks for the exceptional job that you did in bringing together loose ends after we left New York.

I am happy to report that I am doing very well now and back on the job again. The work has piled up so much that I hardly think I will ever catch up. As you know, we are planning to go to India in February and remain there for two months. So if I don’t partially catch up by that time my trip to India will be so frustrating that I won’t gain the spiritual enrichment that that great country affords. At any rate I will try not to worry about it and pray that some miracle will bring things to pass.

Coretta and the little ones are doing fine. I trust that you and your daughters are well. Please give the lovely young ladies my regards although I have not had the privilege of meeting them. It seems now that I will not get to California before September of 1959.2 Do you plan to be there that long? Be sure to let me know.

Again let me thank you for all of your helpfulness and genuine concern during a very difficult period in my life. I think all of the cards have been answered now and we are getting ready to set up the mailing list.

Maude Ballou and Lillie Hunter send their best regards to you. They are getting along very well and doing a good job in making the load lighter for me.

Very sincerely yours,
Martin L. King, Jr.

P.S. Enclosed is a check in the amount of $27.82. Twenty-three dollars and eighty-two cents of this is for the expenses that you incurred in New York. Four dollars is from a white lady who stopped by the office one day and promised to send you some money for the damage done to your automobile glass.3 Thanks again for everything.

1. King likely refers to Harlem community activist Mary Richardson, who may have also provided him with secretarial assistance in New York.

2. King attended the September 1959 meeting of the National Baptist Convention in San Francisco.

3. With a 23 October letter to King, Winifred Courtney enclosed an eight-dollar donation to be used toward repairing damage done to Proctor’s car and King’s window. Courtney explained to King that during an April visit to Montgomery, Proctor had shown her where whites had vandalized the car and window. Courtney told King that she had promised Proctor she would send a contribution as “a token of our shame and distress at these incidents.”

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

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