During the week of December 3, 1956, the MIA will observe its first anniversary by conducting an Institute on Non-Violence and Social Change. Some of the outstanding thinkers and personalities of the nation have been invited to Montgomery to participate in this Institute. This is not to be construed as a victory celebration; rather it will be a week in which we will seek to rededicate the community and the nation to the principle of non-violence in the struggle for freedom and justice.
During the week of the Institute, the leaders of the Montgomery movement hope to raise enough funds to liquidate present financial obligations and meet the many financial responsibilities which lie ahead. We will need funds to give assistance to those individuals who sacrificed themselves in order to aid the movement. Many of them are “marked men” who will not be able to get work for some time. Ninety ministers and leaders of the protest movement still have cases pending in court and are subject to be tried any day on a charge of conspiracy against the city transportation lines. The president’s case must still be appealed to the highest court in order to clear his name of false conspiracy charges. There is also the need for funds so that the MIA can continue to operate in the interest of the Negroes after the protest is ended, since the NAACP operation has been legally curtailed in Alabama. Since the ballot is one of the basic keys to the solution of the Negroes problem in the south, there is the urgent need to set up voting clinics throughout the community which will assist persons in registering and teach them voting procedures.
Because of these needs, a special request goes out to all people of goodwill for an anniversary contribution to be sent to the MIA during the week of December third. It is our hope that all churches, organizations, and individuals will make an “extra” liberal contribution for this most needed cause.
If it is at all possible, we would be, indeed, honored to have you visit Montgomery during some period of this week and share in the rich fellowship that we are all anticipating. Again, we request your co-operation and speedy reply.
Martin Luther King, Jr.,
Ralph D. Abernathy,
NULR-DLC, National Urban League Records, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.