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To Kivie Kaplan

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Author: King, Martin Luther, Jr.

Date: May 3, 1960

Location: Atlanta, Ga.?

Genre: Letter

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


In a 25 April 1960 letter, NAACP board member Kivie Kaplan renewed his attempts to recruit King to serve as an officer or board member of the organization.1 In the letter below, King agrees to "give very serious consideration" to serving on the board. He eventually declined Kaplan's offer, explaining "that it would probably be too much added to my schedule."2

Mr. Kivie Kaplan
Colonial Tanning Company, Inc.
195 South Street
Boston 11, Mass.

Dear Kivie:

I am in receipt of your letter of April 25, again making inquiry of my availability to serve on the Board of the NAACP. As I have said to you before, I would give very serious consideration to the position of Board Member of the NAACP if it came to me. However, I would not want to be placed in the position of giving the impression that I am seeking to put myself on the Board. This I feel is a matter for the board members themselves to decide. So you can feel free to bring the matter up in the board meeting.

I am deeply grateful to you for your interest and concern. As I have said to you so often, your constant support is of inestimable value for the continuance of my humble efforts.

With warm personal regards, I am

Sincerely yours,


1. Kaplan had discussed this idea with King on several occasions, beginning at the NAACP's July 1958 national convention (Kaplan to King, 10 December 1958). King, a lifetime NAACP member, had initially declined Kaplan's offer because he did not want to risk serving in an official capacity in an organization that had been declared illegal in Alabama in 1956 (Kaplan to King, 25 April 1960). On 28 January of the following year, King wrote Kaplan that he had received conflicting advice regarding the offer: "With these divided opinions, I am still left somewhat in a state of confusion."

2. King to Kaplan, 6 March 1961.

Source: MLKP-MBU, Martin Luther King, Jr., Papers, 1954-1968, Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center, Boston University, Boston, Mass.

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