James, a classmate of King’s at Morehouse and pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church in Brunswick, Georgia, sends his regrets for being unable to deliver the Anniversary sermon at Dexter.1 In the fall of 1954 Coretta Scott King gave a recital at Shiloh.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
309 South Jackson Street
Your letter dated March 8, 1955 was received, and the contents therein was noted with particular care. I must say fist that you are a great “DOCTOR.” I do appreciate the invitation extended to me by you inviting me to speak at your eleven o,clock services on your Anniversary ocassion. I consider it an honor as well as a great privilege. I regret very much that it comes on the second Sunday in December, because that is our Communion Sunday, and it is the closing of our fiscal year and wouldn’t like to be away that Sunday. If it was any other Sunday I could make it, but I am afraid it will be impossible to be away at that time. However I hope that this will not be the last invitation. Let me say again, I regret that it comes on that Sunday.
I am very happy to know that your church program is going along so well there at Dexter, but there is no other way for it to go with a man of your ability and integrity, and with the beautiful Rose (Coretta) by your side. Tell Coretta that Brunswick is still talking, and that the city is looking forward to the time when we will present her again. Allow me to say that our church program here at Shiloh is going along fine also. We have recently purchased a new Balwin 5 Organ an we plan to finish paying for it the fifth Sunday in May. We are still baptising new souls into the church. I will have been here a year on the fifteenth of this month which is tomorrow, and we have taken in eighty members since I have been here it must be the hand of God. Gloria and the kids join me in sending their best regards to you and Coretta.
Best wishes, and I bid you God’s speed.
1 Julius James (1918–) graduated from Morehouse College in 1952 and the Morehouse School of Religion in 1954. He pastored Zion Hill Baptist Church and Shiloh Baptist Church, both in Georgia, before being called to St. John Baptist Church in Gary, Indiana, a pastorate he has held since 1955. He served as president of the Baptist Minister’s Conference of Gary from 1959 to 1960 and as president of the local branch of the NAACP in the late 1950s. He founded the Freedom Movement and Fair Share, two organizations dedicated to promoting fair housing and employment practices in Gary.
MLKP, MBU, Martin Luther King, Jr., Papers, 1954-1968, Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center, Boston University, Boston, Mass.