King commends the executive secretary of the NAACP for his 27 February speech in Richmond, Virginia, in which Wilkins condemned that state's program of "massive resistance" to the Supreme Court's school desegregation ruling.1 On 26 March, Wilkins thanked King and commented: "The more I see of the present struggle, the more I take off my hat to the Negro citizens of the South."
Mr. Roy Wilkins, Executive Director
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
New York City.
I have just read the full text of your recent address made at Richmond, Virginia. I read every word of it very scrutinizingly, and think it is a supurb job.
Please know that we are always grateful to you for the great work that you are doing for the Negro and the whole of American democracy.
You will always have my support in this great work.
[signed] Martin L. King, p
Martin Luther King, Jr.
1. In his speech, Wilkins criticized the Virginia House of Delegates for allowing the president of the Little Rock White Citizens’ Council to speak from the House floor, while denying the Virginia NAACP permission to address the body. Wilkins assailed Virginia officials’ "snide trick" of "turning the State House over to the Citizens’ Councils and slamming the door in the face of the NAACP…. They must be doing it because with all their power they don’t think they can win in a fair fight" (Chester Hampton, "Roy Wilkins Lashes Va.’s Leaders Plans," Richmond Afro-American, 8 March 1958; "Let’s fill the Mosque on Feb. 27," Richmond Afro-American, 22 February 1958). For more on Virginia’s strategy of "massive resistance" to integration, see note 2 in King to Aaron E. Henry, 17 September 1958, p. 495 in this volume.
NAACPP-DLC, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Papers, 1909-1955, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., Group IIIA-177.