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To J. Pius Barbour

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Author: King, Martin Luther, Jr.

Date: August 8, 1958

Location: Montgomery, Ala.?

Genre: Letter


In a 17 July letter, Barbour updated King on recent events in his life and asked if Coretta would speak at his church: “I have been reading more about your wife than you lately. Does she make speeches? If so, I want her for my Women’s Day next year.”

Rev. J. Pius Barbour, Minister
Calvary Baptist Church
1614 W. Second Street
Chester, Pa.

Hello Doctor:

It was certainly good hearing from you. I looked for you at Omaha.1 I had begun to wonder whether you had really gone in exile.

I have just begun to see how significant your editorials were in The Voice.2 The present Voice is so shallow that I unconsciously find myself throwing it in the waste basket when it arrives.

Things are going well with me and Coretta. We have just returned from a vacation in Mexico. It was wonderful indeed.

My book, entitled Stride Toward Freedom will be out for sale about the first of September. In fact it will be on sale at the National Baptist Convention, It is published by Harper and Brothers. One chapter in particular will probably interest you. Namely, the chapter on my intellectual pilgrimage to nonviolence. Although you will probably disagree with many of our ideas I am sure you will have fun reading it because it is here that I get to discuss deep philosophical and theological matters that will not particularly interesting to the general public. So I wrote that chapter for you and the others for the masses.

Yes Coretta does do a great deal of speaking. She has given women’s day addresses for Williams in Denver, Burke in Detroit, Dayton and Birmingham. She is booked to be with Hicks in Columbus in November and also with Sandy Ray in Brooklyn in November.3 She will be back in Detroit in October. I am sure that she would be very happy to serve you. Of course she likes to sing more than she likes to speak. It might be good for you to try the type of thing that Sandy Ray is attempting when she goes to him. She will speak on Sunday morning and will give a concert that Sunday evening. This gives her a chance to both sing and speak.

Give my best regards to the family. I will look forward to seeing you in Chicago.

Very sincerely yours,


1. King refers to the June meeting of the National Sunday School and BTU Congress, which was held in Omaha.

2. At the September 1957 National Baptist Convention in Louisville, Barbour was replaced as editor of the National Baptist Voice by Caesar A. W. Clark of Dallas.

3. King likely refers to Reverends M. C. Williams, New Hope Baptist Church; L. Juan Burt, Calvary Baptist Church; H. Beecher Hicks, Mt. Olivet Baptist Church; and Sandy F. Ray, Cornerstone Baptist Church.

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

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