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To Kwame Nkrumah

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Author: King, Martin Luther, Jr.

Date: April 17, 1959

Location: Montgomery, Ala.?

Genre: Letter

Topic: Martin Luther King, Jr. - Travels


King thanks Ghana's prime minister for the courtesies he extended during the Ghanaian independence celebrations in March 1957.1

Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Prime Minister

Dear Dr. Nkrumah:

I have been intending to write you ever since I left Ghana in 1957 after having a most rewarding experience at your independence celebration. Words are inadequate for me to express my appreciation to you for the hospitality that you extended to me and my wife. It was most gracious of you to take time out of your extremely busy schedule and receive us for lunch at your residence. These things will remain in my thoughts so long as the cords of memory shall lengthen.

Since that time I have watched you and the growth of your nation with great pride. I am sorry that I was in Mexico last summer when you were in the United States and did not have an opportunity to attend any of the affairs in your honor.2 I have just returned to the United States from India and I was more than delighted to learn from Prime Minister Nehru and many others that you had been in India a month or so earlier and that your impact on the Indian people was tremendous.

I am sending you, under separate cover, a copy of my book, Stride Toward Freedom. which was published a few months ago. It is an account of our bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama and also an exposition of my philosophical and theological convictions on nonviolence.


I certainly hope that our paths will cross again in the not-too-distant future. If I come to Nigeria next year for the independence celebration, I will certainly plan to stop by Ghana.3

Very sincerely yours,
Martin Luther King, Jr.

MLK:mlb (Dictated, but not personally signed by Dr. King.)

1. King sent a similar letter to Ghana’s finance minister (see King to K. A. Gbedemah, 4 May 1959, pp. 194-195 in this volume). For more information about King’s trip to Ghana, see Introduction in Papers 47-9.

2. On the eve of an NAACP-sponsored dinner in Nkrumah’s honor, King cabled his regrets from Mexico City, where he was vacationing (King to Roy Wilkins, 28 July 1958; see also American Committee on Africa, NAACP, and National Urban League, Invitation, Dinner in honor of Kwame Nkrumah, July 1958).

3. On 16 November 1960, King attended the inauguration of Nnamdi Azikiwe as governor-general and commander-in-chief of Nigeria (see Azikiwe to King, 26 October 1960, pp. 533-534 in this volume). Leaving Nigeria on 18 November, King had planned a seven-hour stopover in Accra (Itinerary for Martin Luther King, Jr., 9 November-19 November 1960). Although the Atlanta Daily World suggested that King would spend a day with Nkrumah on his way home, it is unclear whether or not this occurred (“Dr. King Will Visit Nigeria Next Week,” Atlanta Daily World, 11 November 1960).

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

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