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To Hilda S. Proctor

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Author: King, Martin Luther, Jr.

Date: June 1, 1959

Location: Montgomery, Ala.?

Genre: Letter

Topic: Martin Luther King, Jr. - Travels


King replies to Proctor's 22 May letter in which she complained about FOR's exaggeration of Glenn Smiley's contributions to the Montgomery bus boycott.1

Mrs. Hilda S. Proctor
2088 Kuhio Avenue
Apartment #10
Honolulu, Hawaii

Dear Hilda:

You are really a great globe trotter. I guess next time I hear from you, you will be in Japan or maybe India.

I am happy to know that things are going well with you and you are liking our new state so well.2 From all reports it is certainly one of the most beautiful points in the world.

I am seriously considering coming to Hawaii after the National Baptist Convention in San Francisco.3This will be about the second week of September. If the jets are running out by that time I will probably come out and spend four or five days.4 Because of an extremely busy schedule I cannot stay longer. Do you plan to be there that long?

I am glad that you straightened the people out on the FOR. I fear that this impression has gotten out in many quarters because members of the staff of the FOR have spread the idea.5 While I hate to believe this, it seems to be true.

Things are going as well as can be expected here. We are still engaged in a difficult struggle. The forces of resistance are as strong as ever. However, there are some hopeful signs. Brother Faubus seems to be losing ground in Little Rock and the moderates in the white south are speaking out a little more.6 If we can keep the Negroes from falling into a state of apathy I believe that the south will be a different place in which to live ten years from now.

All of your friends here are doing fine. Maude [Ballou] and Lillie [Hunter] are on the job everyday and working hard as usual. They send their best regards. Coretta and the children are fine. They too send their regards.

I have autographed the books for your friends.7 They should be arriving in a few days. As soon as I definitely know whether or not I will be coming to Hawaii in September, I will let you know. Be sure to keep in touch with me.

Very sincerely yours,
Martin L. King, Jr.

1. See pp. 212-214 in this volume.

2. On 21 August 1959, Hawaii became the fiftieth state admitted to the Union.

3. King traveled to Honolulu in mid-September (see King, Address to the House of Representatives of the First Legislature, State of Hawaii, on 17 September 1959, pp. 277-281 in this volume).

4. Regular jet service to Honolulu began on 7 September 1959.

5. In a letter to an associate following the conclusion of the Montgomery bus boycott, Smiley had written: ''While I do not know that you would want to say it, it seems clear to me that the FOR has developed in the south a self-conscious, nonviolent movement with King at the head" (Smiley to William Robert Miller, 14 January 1957).

6. Following the closing of Little Rock public schools in September 1958, local business and civic leaders withheld their support for Arkansas governor Orval Faubus and organized Stop This Outrageous Purge (STOP), a group committed to protesting the firing of pro-integration teachers and to reopening the schools. STOP and the Women's Emergency Committee succeeded in winning the local school board election in mid-1959, replacing three segregationists with moderate members.

7. In Proctor's 22 May letter, she asked that King autograph books for three of her associates in Hawaii.

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

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