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To Kenneth B. Keating

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Author: King, Martin Luther, Jr.

Date: November 5, 1958

Location: Montgomery, Ala.

Genre: Letter

Topic: Martin Luther King, Jr. - Political and Social Views


King commends New York representative Keating for investigating the recent bombings of southern synagogues and implores the congressman to also look into the bombings of homes, churches, and schools.1 On 12 November Keating responded that he planned to enlarge a proposed federal “bomb probe bill” to allow the FBI to investigate attacks on homes.2 Keating concluded with the hope that King had fully recovered and would resume the “constructive leadership in the fields to which you have devoted your life and talents.”

congressman kenneth keaton
house of representatives
washington, d.c.

we congratulate your forthright speed in taking steps to impliment your campaign promise to investigate recent bombings of synagogues in the south.3 it is heartening to those of us who have been victims of such dastardly acts of violence to know that you plan to come south and get first hand information. we urgently request that interviews with negro ministers in birmingham and montgomery be placed on your schedule. and we further emplore you to include in your survey the bombings of homes, churches and schools. for the sanctity of the home and possible threat to the lives of innocent children in dynamiting both home and school must be regarded as a tragic blight across our nation’s life. the southern christian leadership conference stands ready to help in any way possible.

martin luther king, jr., president
southern christian leadership conference
454 dexter avenue

1. Kenneth B. Keating (1900-1975), was born and raised in Livingston County, New York. He graduated with an A.B. (1919) from the University of Rochester and later from Harvard Law School (1923). In 1946 he became a Republican member of the House of Representatives and served there until being elected to the Senate in 1959. He later served as ambassador to India (1969-1972) and Israel (1973-1975).

2. “Keating to Press Bomb Probe Bill,” Montgomery Advertiser, 6 November 1958.

3. Within five days of the 12 October bombing of an Atlanta synagogue, bombers targeted Jewish centers in Miami, Jacksonville, Nashville, and Birmingham; bomb threats were also received by two Little Rock synagogues (see “Threats Made in Little Rock,” Montgomery Advertiser, 18 October 1958).

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

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