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To A. Philip Randolph

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Author: King, Martin Luther, Jr.

Date: November 8, 1958

Location: Montgomery, Ala.

Genre: Letter

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


King thanks Randolph, who served as chair of a fundraising drive that collected in excess of $2,300 toward expenses resulting from King’s stabbing on 20 September.1 Randolph replied to this letter on 19 November, noting that he was happy to have been able to raise funds for King’s recovery: “In doing this, we were not only helping you, but the great cause of human dignity.’’

Mr. A. Phillip Randolph, President
Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters
217 West 125th Street
New York 27, New York

Dear Brother Randolph:

Words are inadequate for me to express my appreciation to you for the many gracious things you did for me during my illness. From the moment you came in my hospital room on that dreadful Saturday afternoon to the moment I left New York City you proved to be a real source of consolation to me. Your encouraging words and your great gestures of good will served as a great spiritual lift for me and were of inestimable value in giving me the courage and strength to face the ordeal of that trying period. I can assure you that I will remember all of these things so long as the cords of memory shall lengthen.

I am happy to say that I am doing very well now and making steady progress toward a complete recovery. The doctors have requested that I convalesce for another three or four weeks and that I intend to do. As soon as this period is over I hope to plunge right back into the struggle which is so dear to my heart.

I have just finished reading in the Ebony Magazine the magnificent article on your illustrious career.2 It was a real inspiration to read it. I certainly hope that it will go into thousands and even millions of homes in our nation. It expresses what I have said all along. You are truly the Dean of Negro leaders. If I had to choose the ten greatest persons in America today, I would certainly include you on my list. Your life and your dedication has {have] served as a real inspiration to me and to thousands of others.

I don’t know if you have ever considered writing an autobiography. I certainly hope you will. What you have done and what you have achieved should be placed in a document for generations yet unborn to read and meditate upon. I know your schedule is extremely heavy and this would take a good deal of time, but I am sure that you could get the necessary help from capable persons who would lighten the load for you.

Again, let me thank you for your genuine good will and great moral support. I intended calling you before leaving New York, but things began to stack up so that I found it impossible. I will definitely talk with you when I am in that area again.

With best wishes and warm personal regards, I am

Sincerely yours,
[signed] Martin
Martin L. King, Jr.

1. Contributors to the fund ranged from Harlemites who gave one or two dollars to prominent individuals such as Sugar Ray Robinson, Ralph Bunche, Nelson Rockefeller, and Averell Harriman. In 16 and 30 December letters to King, Randolph itemized the expenses charged to King’s recovery fund.

2. King refers to Allan Morrison’s “A. Philip Randolph: Dean of Negro Leaders,” Ebony, November 1958, pp. 103-104,106, 108, 110-112,114.

Source: APRP-DLC, A. Philip Randolph Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

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