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To Richard Bartlett Gregg

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Author: King, Martin Luther Jr.

Date: December 18, 1958

Location: Montgomery, Ala.?

Genre: Letter

Topic: Martin Luther King, Jr. - Travels


On 27 October Gandhian authority Gregg, who had corresponded with King during the Montgomery bus boycott, offered his assistance in having Stride Toward Freedom published in India. Gregg also suggested that, like Gandhi, King might shift his energies toward creating self-help and education projects that would foster the solidarity needed to launch the next mass movement: “Gandhi realized that a non-violent struggle, whether social, economic or political, imposed a great strain on people's moral resources and endurance, so that there needed to be a period of moral relaxation and rest which was also creative in a different realm or aspect.”

Mr. Richard B. Gregg

Dear Mr. Gregg:

On returning to my office a few days ago I found your very kind letter of October 27, on my desk. I was very gratified to know of your interest in having my book published in India. I have been deeply concerned about the book being read in India, since I gained a great deal of inspiration from Mahatma Gandhi.

There has already been some discussion of this with my agent and the publishers. A few months ago an outstanding Gandhian disciple, Kaka Kalelkar, visited our city and on discovering that I had written a book suggested having it published in India through the Gandhi Memorial Trust.1 I immediately placed my literary agent in contact with Mr. Kalelkar. Since that time I have been so involved that I have not had a chance to consult the agent on the outcome. I am now getting off a letter to New York to find out what has been done in this line. As soon as I hear from them I will be glad to contact you concerning future possibilities. I have no concern for making any money from an Indian publication of my book. My only concern is to share my message with the people of that great country.

Thank you for your suggestions concerning our next best steps. I gained a great deal from this practical, yet profound advice. Incidentally, I have received a copy of your book, A Philosophy of Indian Development, and I am deeply grateful to you for it.2 Although a busy schedule has prevented me from reading it thus far, I hope to take some time out in the next few days to go through it. I am sure that it will be very helpful and stimulating.

It is always gratifying to know of your interest in our struggle and realize the presence of your moral support. I look forward to the day that we will be able to meet personally.

Very sincerely yours, 
Martin Luther King, Jr.


P.S. Mrs. King and I will be going to India around the first of February and we plan to spend about six weeks in that country. I would appreciate any suggestions that you have concerning our visit and also the names of persons that it would be helpful to see.3

1. The Gandhi Memorial Trust was organized shortly after Gandhi’s assassination in 1948 to promote his work and philosophy.

2. In his 27 October letter Gregg said that he had asked his publisher to send King a copy of the book, “on the chance that you might be able to work out for your community some sort of equivalent of Gandhi’s constructive program.” King wrote the foreword to the revised 1959 edition of Gregg’s The Power of Nonviolence.

3. In letters to King of 31 December 1958 and 23 January 1959, Gregg provided names and addresses of contacts in India.

Source: MLKP-MBU, Martin Luther King, Jr., Papers, 1954-1968, Boston University, Boston, Mass.

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