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From Lawrence Dunbar Reddick

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Author: Reddick, Lawrence Dunbar (Alabama State College)

Date: July 31, 1959

Location: Montgomery, Ala.

Genre: Letter

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

Montgomery Bus Boycott



Reddick comments on the recent NAACP convention and offers suggestions for King's forthcoming article, "Pilgrimage to Nonviolence." The article was published as part of a series entitled "How My Mind Has Changed" in Christian Century.1

Reverend Martin L. King
454 Dexter Avenue

Dear Martin,

Many thanks for copies of the speeches and the English edition of Stride.2 Please let me forward a couple of suggestions that may escape me before I see you in person.

In the first place, the victory for non-violence at the recent NAACP convention is very important. Not only was a crushing defeat dealt violence but some of the NAACP leaders were forced to do much more thinking on this subject than ever before and I do believe that they have come out now with a deeper conviction than they have previously held. We should encourage them in this and I believe that in our speeches and writings we should emphasize the importance of the full embracing of non-violent resistance by the most important civil rights organization America has.

As for your piece for the Christian Century, I believe that it should be a bit more personal than your Yale speech.3 I believe that you told me over the telephone that it is to indicate wherein you have changed your mind on important issues of the day and on your general approach to moral problems—socially and personally. I suggest that the experience of the Montgomery boycott re-inforced certain preliminary intellectual convictions that you had before coming to the local situation.

Furthermore, as of your Yale speech, I think that the word "only" should be inserted after the word "America" on page 7 in the second paragraph. This helps the transition. In the next paragraph on that same page, please note that the term "maladjusted" is not "the ringing cry of the new child psychology." This is rather old stuff now. Moreover, in this paragraph I think that you should tie up your use of maladjusted with the phrase "until the good society is realized." Otherwise, it might appear that you are simply endorsing maladjusted people in general.4

If you give me a buzz next week, we can talk further about these and other matters.

Sincerely yours,
[signed] Lawrence
L. D. Reddick


1. See King, "Pilgrimage to Nonviolence," 13 April 1960, pp. 419-425 in this volume. King had previously published an excerpt from Stride Toward Freedom under the title "My Pilgrimage to Nonviolence" (see Papers 4:473-481).

2. Stride Toward Freedom was published in England by Victor Gollancz in 1959.

3. On 14 January 1959, King delivered "The Future of Integration" at Yale University.

4. While King did not use the material from his Yale address for the article, he did follow Reddick's suggestion to qualify his endorsement of maladjustment in at least two subsequent versions of the address. King continued, however, to characterize maladjustment as "the ringing cry of modern psychology" ("The Future of Integration," Address at the National Convention of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, 21 August 1959, and "The Future of Integration," Address at the American Studies Conference on Civil Rights, 16 October 1959).

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

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