Carr, treasurer of the National Baptist Convention, compliments King for his leadership in the bus boycott but warns him against associating with “subversive” organizations. He also invites King back to Philadelphia’s Vine Memorial Baptist Church, where King had preached in April 1954. King wrote “answered” on Carr’s letter, but the reply has not been located. King did not speak at the church during 1956.
Rev. M. L. King Jr.
309 South Jackson Street
Dear Rev. King:
This letter comes to congratulate you for the stand you have taken in sphere of leadership in the Montgomery Bus Boycott. I want you to know that millions are standing at your back because of the thing that you are doing in fighting for the rights of all of us.
I am this day, turning over $151.00 to the Baptist Ministers Conference in Philadelphia that will be forwarded to you sometimes this week.
Your stand has been so perfect that I trust that there will be nothing done to mar it. So whenever you are invited to speak for civic movements, be sure that they are not on the subversive list. It was called to my attention that the Rev. Ralph D. Abernathy is to speak for the Civil Rights Congress in these parts.1 If I recall correctly, they have been placed on the subversive list. You can check at the Montgomery Courthouse and see if that checks. If so, then I would counsel with him to withdraw because it might bring bad repercussion.
As my pulpit has been opened to you before, it is now. I would like for you to come and be my guest speaker on the 4th Sunday in April or any Sunday that it is convenient. With best wishes, I remain,
Leonard G. Carr
1. The Civil Rights Congress (CRC), founded in 1946 and headed by William L. Patterson, used legal strategies and mass protest to combat racism and defend leftists from prosecution. In 1953 the CRC was the first of twelve organizations to be cited as a communist front by Attorney General Herbert Brownell, Jr. The Subversive Activities Control Board ordered the CRC in December 1955 to register with the attorney general and submit information about its membership, finances, and activities.
MLKP-MBU, Martin Luther King, Jr., Papers, 1954-1968, Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center, Boston University, Boston, Mass.