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To the Montgomery Improvement Association

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Author: King, Martin Luther, Jr. (Southern Christian Leadership Conference)

Date: October 6, 1958

Location: New York, N.Y.?

Genre: Letter

Topic: Martin Luther King, Jr. - Threats/attacks against


My dear Friends and Co-Workers of the MIA:

While convalescening here in New York from an act of violence which was inflicted upon me two weeks ago, my mind inevitably turns toward you. Over and over again during these difficult days I have thought of you and our long association together.

First, let me relieve your minds by saying that I am doing quite well. The five physicians who have been at my side from the moment of the operation have all agreed that I have made an amazing recovery.1 I am gradually regaining my strength and the natural pain that follows an operation is gradually passing away. On last Friday I was dismissed from the hospital and now I am convalescening in a spacious home on the out-skirts of New York city.2 I will have to be here for three weeks in order to stay in close contact with my physicians.

Words are inadequate for me to express my appreciation to you for your prayers and words of consolation during these days of confinement. They have come as a great spiritual lift. Just this morning I was reading the many messages that you so graciously sent to me prepared by Mrs. Doris Parker.3 You can never know what this thoughtful expression meant to me. All of these things I am sure will make my complete recovery even more speedier.

May I urge you to continue in the noble struggle for freedom and justice that has been so courageously started in the Cradle of the Confederacy. Fortunately, God has given Montomery several marvelous leaders and my absence does not in any way have to impede the program of our movement. I hope you will give the Reverends Abernathy, [Solomon S.] Seay, [William J.] Powell, [B. D.] Lambert and the other stalwarts in the fore-front of leadership in our movement your abiding cooperation, although we have made great progress, we have a long way to go. Our final destination is the city of freedom and we must not stop until we have entered the sublime and lofty Metropolis.

I solicit your continued prayers. I can assure you that God has already heard them, for without them I could not have come this far. And let me say that in spite of the pain and suffering that I have undergone in the last few days, God has been abundantly good to me. Through this whole experience I can’t remember one moment that I became excited or even upset nor did I have one iota of bitterness for Mrs. Izola Curry, the lady who committed the act of violence upon me. And today I joyously accept the scars on my body as the marks of the Lord Jesus Christ and proudly sing, “Where He Leads Me, I will Follow,” even if it is to a painful and agonizing cross. I have come to see that even in the midst of the pains of life, His yoke is easy and His burden is light, precisely at the moment you feel that you can’t bear it.

I say good-bye to you now and look forward to seeing you very soon. Remember! God lives. They that stand against Him stand in a tragic and an already declared minority. They that stand with him stand in the glow of the world’s bright tomorrows.

Your servant in the cause of Christ and Freedom,
Martin Luther King, Jr.

1. King likely refers to Aubré Maynard, Emil Naclerio, John Cordice, Farrow Allen, and Helene Mayer.

2. King recuperated at the Brooklyn parsonage of Sandy Ray, pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church.

3. Doris R. Parker was an MIA member.

Source: HG, GAMK, Hazel Gregory Papers, 1955-1965, Martin Luther King, Jr., Center for Nonviolent Social Change, Inc., Atlanta, Ga.

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