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To Richard M. Nixon

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Author: King, Martin Luther, Jr.; Jemison, T. J. (Theodore Judson); Davis, A.L.; Shuttlesworth, Fred L.; Steele, C. Kenzie

Date: February 14, 1957

Location: New Orleans, La.

Genre: Letter

Topic: Martin Luther King, Jr. - Political and Social Views


At the conclusion of their meeting, the Southern Leaders Conference sent this telegram urging the vice president to visit the South and report to the president on racist violence.1 On 15 February Nixon referred this telegram to White House aide Maxwell Rabb, asking that he offer a response "consistent with the reply which the White House has sent out." No direct response to this telegram has been located. 

Vice-president Richard Nixon
Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C.

Dear Mr. Nixon: 

One month has passed since we urged you to make a trip into the South similar to the one you made in Europe on behalf of the Hungarian refugees. At that time we urged you to examine the violence directed toward Negroes in the South who merely ask for justice and freedom under law and to report your findings to the President and to the Nation. 

We are sorry that you have not seen fit to answer our telegram. 

Meantime, we note that you have been chosen to represent the United States government at the gold coast Independence Celebration March 6th, when that first Negro country in Africa receives its freedom from colonial domination.

We are convinced that you will better be able to represent America's defense of justice and freedom at the celebration, if prior to your leaving for Africa on March 6th, you arrange for the fact-finding trip we have proposed into the South. 

In any event, we urge you to make such a trip at your earliest convenience. 

May we hear from you as soon as possible.

Rev. M. L. King, Montgomery, Ala.
Rev. F. L. Shuttlesworth, Birmingham, Ala.
Rev. T. J. Jemison, Baton Rouge, La.
Rev. C. K. Steele, Tallahassee, Fla.
Rev. A. L. Davis Jr., New Orleans, La.
For: Southern Negro Leaders Conference 

1. Conference members also sent telegrams to congressional leaders requesting that they schedule hearings in the South in connection with the proposed civil rights legislation (King to Emanuel Celler and Thomas C. Hennings, Jr., 14 February 1957). Additionally, the group wired Attorney General Herbert Brownell requesting a meeting between black leaders and southern district attorneys to discuss the implementation of federal desegregation rulings (King to Brownell, 14 February 1957). 

Source: BRP-DLC, Bayard Rustin Papers, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

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