King sends a telegram to an Alabama State College student who was among the thirty-seven people arrested for protest activities on 8 March.1 Dixon, whose mother was a member of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, had attended MIA mass meetings during the bus protest. In her 22 March reply, Dixon related the details of her trial, stating that she and other student protesters were found guilty of disorderly conduct and disobeying a police officer: “I knew I hadn't done anything wrong so why should I be afraid. But after we got to Court, it was a different story, the arresting officer said I did have a sign stating, ‘Who's Next?’ My only regret was I didn't have one. Rev. King it was a total disgrace to see those police officers stand under oath and lie. I really got sick, but I guess I should have expected it.”2
miss rebecca dixon
427 ross street
deeply shocked to learn of the shameful and unjust arrest which you had to face. however, i am greatly inspired by the dignity and courage that you and your fellow students have manifested by standing up for a righteous cause. you have made jail going a badge of honor and dignity. you already stand in the glow of the world's bright tomorrows. please know that you and your fellow students have my absolute support in these difficult hours.
martin luther king, jr.
1. Rebecca Dixon Mohr (1941-), born in Montgomery, earned a B.S. (1963) from Alabama State College and an M.S.L.S. (1967) from Atlanta University. Mohr worked as a librarian at Florida A&M University (1967-1971) and at Florida State University (1971-1978). She then served as grants administrator at Norfolk State University and Talladega College before returning to Alabama State in 1989 to work as a circulation librarian.
2. Montgomery Recorders Court judge Eugene Loe ordered the students to pay $100 fines (Herschel Cribb, “32 Students Given Fines; File Appeals,” Montgomery Advertiser, 12 March 1960). In his 18 April reply to Dixon, King sent words of encouragement: “Be sure to keep your chin up. In spite of the tensions and difficulties of these days I am convinced that we are living in one of the most exciting periods of history. You should feel privileged to be able to live at such a time as this.”
MLKP, MBU, Martin Luther King, Jr., Papers, 1954-1968, Boston University, Boston, Mass.