King accepts blues composer and publisher W C. Handy's offer, conveyed by his cousin, to donate one hundred printed copies of the song “We Are Americans, Too, ’’ by Eubie Blake and Andy Razaf to raise funds for the MIA.1
Mrs. Lovie M. Rainbow
161 East Lorain Street
Dear Mrs. Rainbow:
This is just a note to acknowledge receipt of your letter of June 29, as well as the enclosed letter from your cousin W. C. Handy.2 First, I might mention what a debt of gratitude that we owe him for his interest in our struggle. His offer to give us one hundred copies of the song “We Are Americans, too” is one that will be well accepted. I will be very happy to appoint someone in the organization to dispose of these copies. It can mean a great deal for our organization financially. I will look forward to receiving the music in the very near future. Thanks for your interest and cooperation. Please extend my personal regards to your cousin who has made such a rich contribution to the musical field in America.
M. L. King, Jr.,
1. William Christopher Handy (1873-1958), known as the “father of the blues,” was most famous for his 1914 composition “St. Louis Blues.” He also formed a company to publish blues compositions, including “We Are Americans, Too.”
2. Handy’s 22 June 1956 letter to Rainbow, which she forwarded to King, noted that Handy would receive an award at a celebration of black achievements at the Panorama of Progress held 30 June- 4 July 1956 in Detroit. Singer Nat King Cole recorded “We Are Americans, Too” for the event, where King also received an award. Neither King nor Handy attended the celebration.
MLKP, MBU, Martin Luther King, Jr., Papers, 1954-1968, Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center, Boston University, Boston, Mass.