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To James E. Bristol

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Author: King, Martin Luther, Jr.

Date: March 30, 1959

Location: Montgomery, Ala.?

Genre: Letter

Topic: Martin Luther King, Jr. - Travels


King thanks Bristol for his assistance in India and describes his subsequent trip to the Middle East. Bristol replied on 16 April.

Mr. James Bristol
24 Rajpur Road

Dear Jim:

This is just a note to again express my appreciation to you for making our recent visit to India such a meaningful one. I will long remember the fellowship we enjoyed together. There is a word in Catholic theology called supererogation which means in substance, more than justice requires. Certainly, the hospitality which you and your family showered on our party and the detail work you did to keep things smooth and orderly were acts of supererogation. I am sure that I will never be able to repay you for all that you did for us. However, I do hope that we can return some of the courtesy. Our unostentacious home in Montgomery, Alabama is always open to you and your family. I do hope that you will come to see us.

As expected, we found that our work had accumulated tremendously at home. This means that we will have to play a game of catch up for the next few months. We found things going very well in the South and although the forces of resistance are still strong, things are happening every day to diminish the barriers to an integrated society.

Our stops in the Middle East proved to be most profitable and rewarding. While in Jerusalem we had an opportunity to talk with many people concerning the Arab Israeli problem. This, as you know, is still one of the most difficult problems of the world. We enjoyed Cairo with its ancient pyramids and Athens with its towering acropolis. Our flight from Athens to New York, with intermediate stops, was about twenty-five hours. So when we arrived at Idlewild Airport, we were just about exhausted. It took us about two or three days to get ourselves together. Now we are doing very well and back on the job.

Coretta and Larry [Reddick] send their best regards. We are now in the process of getting our pictures developed, after which we will have about three evening discussions in the community on India.1 We are looking forward to this with great anticipation.

Please give our best regards to your lovely wife, Dorothy, and your charming daughters Tina and Leigh. We were all greatly impressed with your family, and I hope the friendship between your family and ours will grow over the years.

Very sincerely yours, Martin L. King, Jr.


1. In his 16 April reply, Bristol wrote that he was "glad to hear" that King had enjoyed his Middle Eastern travels and continued: "You should have a wonderful collection of pictures, and I am sure that your discussion evenings on India should be both pleasurable and profitable for your friends in Montgomery." The Kings and Reddick shared travel photos and reflections with the Dexter congregation on 16 April (Program, Sunday services, 12 April 1959).

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

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