King and Ralph Abernathy had invited Waring, a retired federal district judge, to attend the MIA's Institute on Nonviolence and Social Change in early December.1Waring had nullified South Carolina’s white Democratic primary in 1947, and his 1951 dissent in a school desegregation case, Briggs v. Elliott, helped set the stage for the Supreme Court’s Brown decision in 1954.
Messrs. M. L. King and Ralph D. Abernathy,
Montgomery Improvement Association,
530-C So. Union Street,
I wish to offer to you and the Montgomery Improvement Association my hearty congratulations on the great fight for freedom and the American Creed which you have made in Montgomery. You have shown the nation that decency and courage will eventually prevail. You have sufferred vicious persecution and have undergone losses and privations. The immediate issue has not been won as yet but such faith and determination is bound to be triumphant and the persecutors must themselves by this time come to realize that they are fighting a cruel but losing effort. The entire nation salutes you and prays for your early relief and victory.
I thank you for your invitation to attend the anniversary meeting but regret that I cannot be there in person but I am there with you in spirit.
J. Waties Waring.
1. Julius Waties Waring (1880-1968), born in Charleston, South Carolina, received his B.A. (1900) from the College of Charleston. He served as assistant United States attorney in Charleston from 1914 to 1920 and as the city of Charleston’s corporation counsel from 1933 to 1942. President Roosevelt appointed Waring to the federal bench in 1942, where he served until his retirement in 1952. He often endured harassment because of his pro-civil rights rulings.
MLKP-MBU, Martin Luther King, Jr., Papers, 1954-1968, Boston University, Boston, Mass.