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From John Wesley Dobbs

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Author: Dobbs, John Wesley

Date: February 15, 1957

Location: Atlanta, Ga.

Genre: Letter

Topic: Martin Luther King, Jr. - Career in Ministry


King receives congratulations from one of his parents’ friends. The Dobbs family lived near the Kings in Atlanta for many years. 1

Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
309 S. Jackson Street
Montgomery, Alabama

My dear M. L. Jr.:

May God Almighty continue to Bless you, and grant unto you more Wisdom and Power to carry on, in His Name, the struggle for Decency, Dignity, and First Class Citizenship for all Americans, without regard to Race or Creed.

I was certainly happy to find your likeness on the cover page of Time Magazine this week. You could not have accomplished so much, in so short a time, unless you had decided to let God use you. Keep up the good work.

I spoke in Chapel at Morris Brown College this morning on Negro History. At the end of my address, I held up a copy of TIME to the students, and told them that you were writing history in Montgomery, Alabama, right now, notwithstanding the fact that you have just turned 28. I admonished them to do likewise.

I told the Students that you did not start out in life to become a Bishop, but that you asked God for the privilege to be one of His humble servants. I told them, that in making preparation for service, you finished Morehouse College early, graduated at Crozier Theological Seminary, stopped by Boston University to pick up a P.H.D. Degree, and then settled down in Montgomery, Alabama, to lead an honorable, non-violence movement for Equal Rights.

I further told them that I hope to be with you at the Gold Coast Celebration in Africa early in March.2

Kindest regards and best wishes, to your family.

Sincerely yours,
John Wesley Dobbs

1. John Wesley Dobbs (1882-1961), born in Marietta, Georgia, graduated from Morehouse College in 1901 and worked as a railway mail service clerk for 32 years. Along with King, Sr., he promoted black voter registration in Atlanta in the 1930s and 1940s. In 1936 he founded the Atlanta Civic and Political League to promote patronage of black businesses, voter registration, and improved schools and recreational facilities for African Americans. A former vice-chairperson of the Georgia state central committee of the Republican party, Dobbs also served as a national vice president of the NAACP, and as grand master of the Prince Hall Masons of Georgia from 1932 to 1961.

2. On King’s return trip from Africa, he spent an evening with Dobbs in Paris.

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

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