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To Robert Johnson

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Author: King, Martin Luther, Jr.

Date: January 10, 1957

Location: Montgomery, Ala.

Genre: Letter

Topic: Martin Luther King, Jr. - Travels


Just before 2 A.M. on 10 January, several black churches and homes in Montgomery were bombed, including Ralph Abernathy's First Baptist Church and parsonage.1 King and Abernathy rushed home from Atlanta—where they were to convene the Southern Negro Leaders Conference on Transportation and Nonviolent Integration—after receiving a phone call from Juanita Abernathy. In their absence, Coretta Scott King and Fred Shuttlesworth opened the first day of the meeting; King was named chairman of the conference in absentia. In a late afternoon telegram King informs the managing editor of Jet that, due to the situation in Montgomery, he will be unable to attend an award ceremony in his honor that evening in Chicago.

robert johnson2
jet magazine johnson publications
michigan ave chgo

unfortunate circumstances here in montgomery make it impossible for me to be in chicago this evening to receive the man of the year award from the windy city press club. it was necessary for me to rush back to montgomery from atlanta to deal with the situation of which i am sure you have read about now. please express my deepest regrets to the members of the windy city press club. i will long be grateful to you for bestowing upon me this great honor.

rev m l king jr
mtgy improvement assn
530c south union st

1. Bombers also targeted Bell Street Baptist Church, Mt. Olive Baptist Church, Hutchinson Street Baptist Church, and the parsonage of MIA executive board member Robert Graetz, the white pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church's African-American congregation. 

2. Robert Edward Johnson (1922-1996), born in Montgomery, Alabama, graduated with King from Morehouse College in 1948. After working as a reporter and editor for the Atlanta Daily World (1948-1950), Johnson earned his M.A. (1952) from Syracuse University. In 1953 he began a long career with Jet magazine, becoming executive editor of the publication in 1963. 

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

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