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To Kenneth H. Tuggle

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Author: King, Martin Luther, Jr.

Date: October 19, 1959

Location: Montgomery, Ala.?

Genre: Letter

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


Acting on a resolution from SCLC's executive committee, King requests a meeting with the chair of the Interstate Commerce Commission to discuss “discriminatory practices” faced by black interstate travelers.1 Tuggle replied on 28 October and agreed to a 25 November meeting in Washington, D.C.2 A press report indicated that Tuggle assured King that “action would be taken… upon receipt of complaints of discrimination.”3

Mr. Kenneth H. Tuggle, Chairman
The Interstate Commerce Commission
Constitution Avenue and 12th Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C.

Dear Mr. Tuggle:

A small committee from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Inc. would like to meet with members of the Interstate Commerce Commission to discuss the discriminatory practices which Negro interstate passengers still experience in this area.

Wednesday, November 25th is the date we would prefer. However, if that is not convenient with your office, please indicate other dates later in November or in December that are convenient, and we will select one on which our committee can come to Washington.

We should appreciate hearing from you at the earliest possible date.

Sincerely yours,
Rev. Martin L. King, Jr.


1. King, Recommendations to the SCLC Executive Committee, 30 September 1959, pp. 295-297 in this volume.

2. The 1946 Supreme Court decision in Morgan v. Virginia (328 US. 373) declared segregation in interstate travel unconstitutional. The ICC did not enforce the decision until 1955, when the commission banned segregation in interstate trains, buses, and waiting rooms. Kenneth Herndon Tuggle (1904-1978), born in Barbourville, Kentucky, received an A.B. (1926) from the University of Kentucky. A businessman and attorney, Tuggle served as lieutenant governor of Kentucky (1943-1947). President Eisenhower appointed him to the ICC in 1953. In 1959 Tuggle served a one-year term as chair of the ICC and remained on the commission until retiring in 1975.

3. “Rival Faction Plans Boycott of King Talk,” Montgomery Advertiser, 3 December 1959. In 1960 King corresponded with Tuggle’s successor at the ICC on the arrest of Fred Shuttlesworth’s children in Gadsden, Alabama, for refusing to move to the back of a bus on an interstate route (King to John H. Winchel, 18 August 1960; see also King to William P. Rogers, 18 August 1960, pp. 496-497 in this volume).

Source: SCLCR, GAMK, Southern Christian Leadership Conference Records, 1954-1970, Martin Luther King, Jr., Center for Nonviolent Social Change, Inc., Atlanta, Ga., Box 5.

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