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To Tracy D. Mygatt

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Author: King, Martin Luther, Jr.

Date: August 8, 1959

Location: Montgomery, Ala.?

Genre: Letter

Topic: Martin Luther King, Jr. - Political and Social Views


King replies to a 3 August request for an endorsement from Mygatt, New York secretary of the Campaign for World Government.1 In the letter below King expresses his support for the concept. On 20 August, Mygatt thanked King for his "ringing declaration of your belief in world government" and added, "I believe I am correct in assuming that I am at liberty to quote you, as occasion offers."

Miss Tracy D. Mygatt
Campaign for World Government, Inc.
333 Park Avenue
Glencoe, Illinois

Dear Miss Mygatt:

I have read both of your letters with great interest. I am sorry that I was out of the country when the first letter arrived, but my secretary was thoughtful enough to call it to my attention on my return.2 I had intended answering it before now, but absence from the city and the pressures of other responsibilities delayed my reply.

I am deeply sympathetic with your campaign for world government. I have come to see that the geographical oneness of our world and the potential destructiveness of modern weapons of war make it necessary for us to move in the direction of a world government if we are to survive. There can hardly be any gainsaying of the fact that war is now obsolete as a way of dealing with world problems. It can only lead to mutual annihilation.

I am not unmindful of the fact that there are many practical problems involved in the whole idea of world government, but in spite of this we must continue to work in this direction. Certainly, world government is the ideal toward which men of goodwill should work passionately and unrelentingly. So I want you to know that I am deeply concerned about what you are seeking to do. While my many responsibilities in the South at this time will not allow me the time to be of any assistance to you, I can at least say that you have my moral support.

I am happy to know of your interest in our struggle here in the South. Such moral support is of inestimable value in the continuance of our humble efforts.

With every good wish.

Yours very truly,
Martin L. King, Jr.


1. Mygatt enclosed an article she had written for a Methodist student magazine ("World Federation—A Must" Motive [October 1957]: 9–11). Mygatt met King on 2 February 1959, when he addressed the War Resisters League in New York. Tracy Dickinson Mygatt (1885–1973), born in Brooklyn, New York, graduated from Bryn Mawr College (1909). Soon after graduating she helped organize a woman suffrage movement in eastern Pennsylvania. In 1913 she joined the Socialist Party and two years later founded the Anti-Enlistment League to promote unconditional opposition to war. Mygatt was among the founders of the War Resisters League in 1923, serving as an honorary chairwoman of the organization until her death. She worked for the Campaign for World Government, Inc., from 1941 until 1969 when she began to work part-time from a retirement home in Philadelphia.

2. Mygatt had initially written King on 20 January 1959.

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

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