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“Recommendations to MIA Executive Board”

Author: 
King, Martin Luther, Jr. (Montgomery Improvement Association)
Date: 
May 24, 1956
Genre: 
Report
Topic: 
Montgomery Bus Boycott

Details

Recognizing that the bus boycott might continue indefinitely, King makes recommendations for restructuring the MIA to “prepare ourselves for a long struggle.” These include reducing the number of mass meetings from two to one each week, streamlining the MIA decision-making process and financial management, and creating newsletter and history committees. To increase economic and political power, King emphasizes the need for voter registration and an MIA-sponsored savings and loan association. On 31 May King presented these recommendations to the executive board, which accepted his suggestions.

1. In order to lessen the pressure that we have worked under for several months and prepare ourselves for a long struggle which might possibly last several more months, our mass meetings will be reduced to once a week beginning the first week in June. This meeting will be held each Monday at 7:00 P.M., and the program committee shall be urged to limit the program to one hour and a half. If necessary situations arise special mass meetings will be called.

2. In order to valuably utilize the present relaxed phase of the bus situation and capitalize on the prevailing enthusiasm and amazing togetherness of the people, a strong emphasis shall be placed on increasing our political power through voting and increasing our economic power through the establishment of a bank. The committee on registration and voting shall seek to implement its program immediately. This committee shall meet weekly to discuss methods, findings and results. The Montgomery Improvement Association shall provide every avenue necessary to make the work of this committee successful. The Banking Committee shall meet immediately and make application for a charter through the Federal Home Loan Bank in Greensboro, North Carolina. If the charter is denied at this level a committee shall be immediately sent to Washington to appeal for a charter through the head office of all savings and loan banks.1 The program committee shall be requested to allot more time in the mass meetings to the voting and banking committees for purposes of getting the idea over to the people.

3. In order to give our numerous friends over the nation and the various newspapers an accurate account of developments in the bus situation, a bi-monthly newsletter shall be released. The letter shall be edited by Mrs. Jo Ann Robinson, assisted by persons of her choice. Before the letter is released it shall be read and approved by the president, the vice-presidents, and the secretary of the Montgomery Improvement Association. Since the job of editor entails such a tremendous responsibility plus certain technical skills, a reasonable salary, recommended by the finance committee and approved by the Executive Board, shall be offered. It is hoped that this newsletter will very soon be expanded into a newspaper with an official staff, which will become the official organ of the Montgomery Improvement Association.2

4. In order that there may be a reliable and orderly record of the bus protest plus an accurate record of the origin, growth and future development of the Montgomery Improvement Association, a History Committee shall be organized consisting of the following persons: Dr. L. D. Reddick, Chairman; Mr. N. W. Walton, Mr. J. E. Pierce, and Mrs. Jo Ann Robinson.3

5. That an executive committee be established consisting of all officers of the association and all committee heads. The function of this committee shall be to make decisions on minor matters of policy when it is not possible to call the whole executive board. Also this committee shall from time to time make recommendations to the executive board concerning vital matters of policy.

6. In order to maintain good public relations and keep the executive board well informed on the financial standing of the organization, a financial report of all receipts and disbursements shall be presented bi-monthly by the finance committee to the Executive Board.

1. Late in 1956 the MIA abandoned the idea of a charter after learning of the requirement for $400,000 in deposits. MIA leaders decided instead to establish a credit union, but in 1959 the federal government denied the group a charter for such an entity because they lacked a defined membership.

2. The MIA Newsletter first appeared in June 1956. It was initially published biweekly, then monthly, and became a quarterly in 1957. It included reports of meetings, educational workshops, fund-raising appeals, and “recent happenings” in the Montgomery struggle and was sent to supporters throughout the country.

3. Lawrence Dunbar Reddick (1910-1995), born in Jacksonville, Florida, received his B.A. (1932) from Fisk University and his Ph.D. (1939) in history from the University of Chicago. Reddick taught at New York City College, the New School for Social Research, and Atlanta University before joining the faculty of Alabama State College in 1956. In 1960 Reddick was fired for his support of student civil rights activists. He helped King draft and edit Stride Toward Freedom and accompanied the Kings on their trip to India in 1959. His publications include an article on the boycott in the Spring 1956 issue of Dissent and Crusader Without Violence (1959), the first biography of King.

Norman W. Walton (1921-) received B.A. (1947) and M.A. (1949) degrees from Tennessee A&I University. At the time of the boycott Walton was a professor in the history and political science department at Alabama State College, which he eventually chaired. Walton wrote a five-part series for the Negro History Bulletin in 1956 and 1957 chronicling “The Walking City, a History of the Montgomery Boycott.” In 1958 Walton produced A Short History of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, in the Eightieth Anniversary of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church (Montgomery: Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, 1958).

Source: 

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