Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation

From Rosa Parks

Main content start

Author: Parks, Rosa

Date: March 14, 1960

Location: Detroit, Mich.

Genre: Letter

Topic: Martin Luther King, Jr. - Arrests


King receives a supportive letter from Parks, who refers obliquely to medical problems she had suffered since leaving Montgomery in 1957.1 A month after receiving this letter, King provided a statement of support for a fund-raising effort to benefit Parks: "Millions of Negroes all over this nation have a new sense of dignity and destiny because Mrs. Parks inspired an event which in turn inspired them. Now that she is facing her moments of suffering as a results of the reprisals that she faced, I know that all people of goodwill will come to her rescue."2

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
407 Auburn Avenue
Atlanta, Georgia

Dear Dr. King:

I was so sorry to hear of your being arrested for Alabama Income Tax. I hope this clipping from the Michigan Chronicle will be of some interest and comfort to you.3

It is good to know that you are going on with the movement for freedom in spite of the segregationists attempts to intimidate and embarrass you.

I am not so well, but better than I was some time ago. My mother and husband are quite well.4 They join me in sending kindest regards to you and Mrs. King and wish for you much happiness in your new home.

Please ask Miss Ella J. Baker to send me her address. I would like to write to her. I will ever remember her kindness to me in 1957.

Sincerely yours,
[signed] Rosa Parks

1. A July 1960 magazine profile described Parks as "just a tattered rag of her former self—penniless, debt-ridden, ailing with stomach ulcers and a throat tumor, compressed into two rooms with her husband and mother" (Alex Poinsett, "The Troubles of Bus Boycott's Forgotten Woman: Montgomery, Ala., Heroine Now Ill, Poverty-Stricken," Jet, 14 July 1960, p. 12; for earlier press criticism of the MIA's failure to assist Parks, see note 1, Parks to King, 23 August 1957, in Papers 4:261). An article in the MIA newsletter expressed the organization's shock and its resolve to provide more for Parks: "All freedom fighters should know that temporary relief will not meet the great need of Mrs. Parks. There must be some long-ranged planning" (MIA, "The Rosa Park's Case," Newsletter, 21 September 1960).

2. King to Maxcine Young, 29 April 1960. King may have also alerted the MIA to Parks's need; the organization sent a donation in March, and Abernathy phoned to assure her of the MIA's continuing support ("The Rosa Park's Case").

3. Parks likely enclosed an editorial denouncing the case against King ("Alabama Die-Hards Try Another Trick," Michigan Chronicle, 27 February 1960).

4. Parks refers to Leona McCauley and Raymond Parks.

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

© Copyright Information