Jackson had served as president of the National Baptist Convention since 1953 and pastor of Chicago’s Olivet Baptist Church for twenty-five years. On 23 February, immediately after the indictments, Jackson telegraphed his support for King and the movement: “We are deeply moved over recent developments there . . . and pledge ourselves to you and your cause.” He encloses with this letter two checks for $1,000, one from the National Baptist Convention and another from his church. According to King, Sr., Jackson had contacted King, Jr., in January, offering to purchase a bus for the carpool. “At that time,” King, Sr., reported to a friend, “M. L. thought it not wise.” Jackson reportedly “kept in constant contact with M. L.” since then.1 King replied to Jackson on 7 March.2
Montgomery Improvement Association
Dexter Avenue Baptist Church
Rev. M. L. King, Jr.
309 S. Jackson Street
My dear Co-Workers In The Struggle of
I salute your heroic deeds, and the Christian spirit in which they have been performed. My interest in your cause is depened every time I hear by radio, television or press, the sacrifices you are making, and the determination with which you face the difficulties of the hour.
As president of our National Baptist Convention, I have sent the message both by telephone and by telegram, to every state in the union, asking that your cause will be supported. You will find enclosed two checks; one from the treasury of the National Baptist Convention, Inc., for one thousand dollars ($1,000); and the other, from the Olivet Baptist Church of which I am minister, for one thousand dollars ($1,000). And, I hope others have sent their funds directly to you as we have requested. For this and any other effort that I might put forth, I seek and deserve no credit; for I am one among thousands who believe that all men are the children of God, and deserve to live within the framework of justice, self-respect and goodwill.
And now, may our floating flag wave over you, and the Federal Constitution sustain you, and the laws of justice and fair play protect you; and may the God of heaven smile upon you, breaking every chain, removing every barrier, and giving unto you the life of comfort and of solace, in the darkest hour of your heroic struggles.
J. H. Jackson, President
National Baptist Convention, Inc.
1. King, Sr., to J. Timothy Boddie, 3 March 1956.
2. See pp. 162-163 in this volume.
MLKP-MBU, Martin Luther King, Jr., Papers, 1954-1968, Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center, Boston University, Boston, Mass.