Muste, of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, heard King describe the Montgomery movement at a Morehouse College gathering of civil rights activists on 12 May, which he reported as “one of the most moving” and “important” events of his long career as a pacifist.1 On 28 June he sent King a request to host Mishree Lal Jayaswal, a nonviolent activist from India who was on a four-year bicycle journey around the world to champion peace and nonviolence. King responds on the same day to Muste and to Bayard Rustin, telling the latter that he would be “very happy to meet the young man from India, and also provide a place for him to stay.” 2
Mr. A. J. Muste
The Fellowship of Reconciliation
21 Audubon Avenue
New York 32, New York
Dear Mr. Muste:
Thanks for your release concerning your Indian friend, Mishree La1 Jayaswal. I will be anticipating his coming to Montgomery, and I assure you that he will receive every possible courtesy.
With every good wish, I am
M. L. King, Jr.,
1. Muste, “The Magnolia Curtain?” 14 May 1956. See also Glenn E. Smiley, Minutes of the Atlanta Conference, 12 May 1956. Abraham Johannes Muste (1885-1967) was born in Holland and became a US. citizen at age eleven. After earning his B.A. (1905) and M.A. (1909) from Hope College in Michigan, he became an ordained minister, receiving a degree from Union Theological Seminary in New York in 1913. Muste directed Brookwood Labor College in New York from 1921 to 1933. He joined the Fellowship of Reconciliation in 1916, serving as the group’s chair for several years in the late 1920s and becoming its executive secretary in 1940. He retired from that position in 1953 but continued his pacifist work with FOR and the Committee for Nonviolent Action, which he chaired from its founding in 1957. A co-founder and editor of Liberation, he was a prolific writer whose publications included Nonviolence in an Aggressive World (1940) and Not by Might (1947).
2. See Rustin to King, June-July 1956; and King to Rustin, 10 July 1956.
MLKP-MBU, Martin Luther King, Jr., Papers, 1954-1968, Boston University, Boston, Mass.