After meeting King at the NAACP national convention in San Francisco in June, the organization's Mississippi field secretary invites King to speak in Jackson.1 King declined the invitation on 16 August, prompting Evers to invite him on several other occasions. King would eventually speak in Jackson on 23 September 1959 for a meeting sponsored by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
Rev. Martin L. King, Jr.
389 South Jackson Street
Dear Rev. King:
I am quite sure you do not remember me, but I managed to shake your hand and introduce myself at the National Convention, as being the field secretary for the NAACP in the State of Mississippi, and, at which time, I asked if it were possible to have you come to Jackson to speak to our branch here. You said that you would consider it. I am therefore, at this time, inviting you to speak to us on the first or second Sunday in October, or on any other date that will be convenient for you.
We, the NAACP here, feel that your presence would do more to bring together our ministers and the people of Jackson than any other person or incident conceivable.
In a recent conversation with Dr. Allan Knight Chalmers, who visited Jackson, he mentioned your having been a ministerial student in his class at Boston University.
Please let me hear from you immediately, and may God bless you.
Medgar W. Evers
1. Medgar Wiley Evers (1925-1963), born in Decatur, Mississippi, graduated from Alcorn A&M College in 1952. He served as the NAACP’s first field secretary in Mississippi from 1954 until 1963 and was a determined advocate of school integration, voter registration, and boycotts of discriminatory businesses. When Emmett Till was lynched in 1955, Evers and other NAACP leaders secured media coverage of the situation, found witnesses, and helped them leave the state after they testified at the trial of Till's murderers. In 1957 Evers became one of the first officers of SCLC but resigned later that year because of an NAACP policy forbidding its staff members from holding positions in other organizations. He was assassinated by a white supremacist on 12 June 1963 outside his Jackson home.
MLKP-MBU, Martin Luther King, Jr., Papers, 1954-1968, Boston University, Boston, Mass.