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From Thomas Kilgore, Jr.

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Author: Kilgore, Thomas Jr. (Friendship Baptist Church)

Date: June 24, 1954

Location: New York, N.Y.

Genre: Letter

Topic: Martin Luther King, Jr. - Career in Ministry


Kilgore and King exchanged letters after King delivered a sermon at Kilgore’s Friendship Baptist Church in New York.1

The Reverend M. L. King
396 Northampton Street, Apt. 5
Boston, Massachusetts

Dear Rev. King:

Please accept this note as an expression of my great appreciation for the very unusual services which you rendered for us on the Second Sunday. You have no idea how much your messages meant to us.

I wish you much success in your new fields of labor in Montgomery.

With best wishes, I am

Sincerely yours,
Thomas Kilgore, Jr.,


1. Thomas Kilgore, Jr. (1913–), received his A.B. from Morehouse in 1935 and his M.Div. from Union Theological Seminary in 1957. He was pastor at Friendship Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, from 1938 until 1947, when he became pastor at Friendship Baptist Church in New York. He left Friendship in 1963 to take over the pastorate at Second Baptist Church in Los Angeles, where he remained until his retirement in 1985. He served as executive secretary of the General Baptist State Convention of North Carolina from 1945 to 1947; director of the Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom in 1957; member of the executive board of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference; president of the American Baptist Churches in 1969 and 1970; president of the Progressive National Baptist Convention from 1976 to 1978; and chair of the board of trustees of Morehouse College. See Thomas Kilgore to King Papers Project, 27 June 1990.

Source: MLKP, MBU, Martin Luther King, Jr., Papers, 1954-1968, Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center, Boston University, Boston, Mass.

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