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From Kivie Kaplan

Kaplan, Kivie (Colonial Tanning Company, Inc.)
August 29, 1956
Boston, Mass.
Montgomery Bus Boycott


Longtime NAACP activist Kaplan was a leader of Reform Judaism and an executive of Boston’s Colonial Tanning Company. He had established an acquaintance with King during the latter’s years as a student in Boston and remained a close family friend.1

Rev. Martin Luther King
530 So. Union St.
Montgomery, Alabama

Dear Rev. King:

I haven't had a chance to write you, but I saw you and heard you at the Convention in San Francisco in June and I want to congratulate you on the most outstanding talk I have ever heard.

You certainly are a great help to the N.A.A.C.P. and I know that you did a wonderful job for our people in your city. Congratulations and keep up the good work!

I am very active in the N.A.A.C.P. and head up along with Dr. Mays the Life Membership drive and I am enclosing herewith one of our FIVE IMPORTANT BENEFITS pamphlet as well as our INVEST IN FREEDOM pamphlet, as well as other Life Membership pamphlets, and I hope that in your travels from time to time when you do run into important people, both White and Negro, who can afford to make an investment in freedom, that you will have our Life Membership drive in mind.

I realize your problems in Montgomery, but there are people who in addition to contributing to your fund, should be Life Members of our organization.

We prefer the cash, but we do accept payments over a period of either, two, three, five or even ten years at $50 a year.

Any help you can give us will certainly be appreciated.

I had hoped to invite you to stay at our home when you were coming up to the Ford Hall Forum in October, but Mrs. Kaplan and the writer are leaving for Europe on September 7th and will be out of the city when you come.

With best wishes, and kindest regards, I remain

Sincerely yours,
Kivie Kaplan



1.Kivie Kaplan (1904-1975), son of Lithuanian Jewish immigrants, joined the NAACP in 1932 and later succeeded Arthur Spingarn as president of the group, serving from 1966 until his death. He also served as vice chairman of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations.


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