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From John Malcolm Patterson

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Author: Patterson, John Malcolm (State of Alabama. Office of Attorney General); Rinehart, Edmon L.

Date: July 12, 1956

Location: Montgomery, Ala.

Genre: Letter

Topic: Montgomery Bus Boycott


Alabama attorney general Patterson sought King's testimony in the state's attempt to ban NAACP activities, including raising funds, collecting dues, and soliciting new members.1 Patterson argued that the NAACP was behind the ‘illegal boycott” in Montgomery. The NAACP's appeal stretched on for eight years until the U. S. Supreme Court ruled in its favor. King never testified.


Martin Luther King
309 South Jackson
Montgomery, Alabama

You have heretofore been serve with a subpoena to appear as a witness, at a hearing set for 10:00 A.M., on Tuesday, July 17, 1956, in the case of State of Alabama ex rel. John Patterson, Attorney General v. National Association for the advancement of Colored People.

You are hereby advised that this hearing has been continued until July 25,1956, and that you must now appear as a witness in this case at 10: 00 A.M., on Wednesday, July 25, 1956, before the Circuit Court of Montgomery County, Alabama, in equity, at the Court House on Dexter Avenue, Montgomery, Alabama.

Very truly yours,
Attorney General
Assistant Attorney General

1. John Malcolm Patterson (1921-), born in Goldville, Alabama, received his law degree from the University of Alabama in 1949. Patterson was attorney general of Alabama from 1955 to 1959 and governor from 1959 to 1963.

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

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