This postcard of support from the elder son of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg—the first American civilians executed for conspiracy to commit espionage—arrived among a batch of correspondence from Swarthmore college students who wished to express "moral support to the jailed student demonstrators in Atlanta." 1
Dear Rev. King:
I am a freshman at college, and I'd like to express my personal feelings and the feelings of my classmates about you and your work.2 Our hearts go out to you and the brave Southern students. Anything that we can do, we'll be more than happy to. We are with you all the way.
[signed] Michael Meeropol 1964
1. In 1951 the Rosenbergs were found guilty of conspiracy to commit espionage on behalf of the Soviet Union. Despite an international campaign for clemency, they were executed at New York's Sing Sing Prison in 1953. Michael A. Meeropol (1943- ) was born Michael Rosenberg in New York City. In 1957 he and his brother Robert were adopted by Abel Meeropol (also known as Lewis Allan), who wrote the lyrics and co-wrote the music to the classic anti-lynching song "Strange Fruit,'' and his wife, Anne. The Meeropols were longtime Communist Party members. Michael Meeropol earned a B.A. (1964) from Swarthmore College, a B.A. (1966) and an M.A. (1970) from King's College, Cambridge University, and a Ph.D. (1973) from the University of Wisconsin. In 1970 Meeropol became a professor of economics at Western New England College.
2. In an October 1960 meeting, the Swarthmore Student Council unanimously adopted a proposal "to appropriate money for the purchase of postcards to be distributed to and sent" to the jailed sit-in participants (Swarthmore College, Minutes, Student council meeting on 23 October 1960, 28 October 1960).
SCLCR-GAMK, Southern Christian Leadership Conference Records, 1954-1970, Martin Luther King, Jr., Center for Nonviolent Social Change, Inc., Atlanta, Ga., Box 5.