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To John Malcolm Patterson

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Author: King, Martin Luther, Jr. (Southern Christian Leadership Conference)

Date: April 14, 1960

Location: Atlanta, Ga.?

Genre: Letter

Topic: Student movements


King and the SCLC executive board write the governor of Alabama to protest an anticipated “purge” of activist faculty at Alabama State College.1

hon john patterson
gov state of alabama

we view with deep concern the published reports that certain members of the faculty of alabama state college are involved in a “purge” or “clean up.”2 these reports state that the charges against these teachers are that they have attended meetings or otherwise expressed approval of the wave of sit in demonstrations that students are presently staging in all parts of the country we affirm that teachers are also citizens and as such have the right of peacefully assembling demonstrating, or other forms of protesting what they believe are social evils. accordingly, we call upon you to insure the protection of teachers against such fantastic charges and a fair trial for them in the event such charges should be raised. moreover we pledge our aid and support to any victum of the violation of academic freedom and the right of citizenship. please help us keep our nation from being held up for shame before the world.

executive board
the southern christian leadership conference
martin luther king jr pres

1. A similar telegram was also sent on 14 April to Alabama superintendent of education Frank Stewart.

2. “Trenholm Plans Purge of ‘Disloyal’ Faculty,” Montgomery Advertiser, 27 March 1960.

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

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