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From Walter C. Carrington

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Author: Carrington, Walter C.

Date: December 21, 1955

Genre: Letter

Topic: Montgomery Bus Boycott


After reading about King in Jet magazine, a fraternity brother applauds the use of Gandhian methods, asserting that “the possibilities of large scale, well disciplined, non-violent civil disobedience to segregation laws are enormous.” 1

Dear Martin,

I’ve just finished reading with a great deal of fascination and admiration about the clear headed and in many respects, unique type of fight you’ve been leading in Montgomery against bus Jim Crow. May I extend my heartiest congratulations and best wishes for success in your endeavor.

When I first saw the quotes in “Jet” of one Rev. M. L. King Jr. the name failed to ring a bell. Then when I saw your picture I exclaimed, “why there’s my good Alpha brother, Martin King!”

It seems to me that the possibilities of large scale, well disciplined, non-violent civil disobedience to segregation laws are enormous. It gives more people a sense of participating in a cause than any other technique I know of. And seated as it is in good Christian doctrine it makes it all the more difficult for the conscience of the white South to rationalize its opposition to it. In the hands of Gandhi civil disobedience proved to be a potent political weapon. It may also prove to be such in the hands of the Southern Negro.

I guess I’ll have to sit on the sidelines a while and let you fellows down there carry the ball. Uncle Sam has his hands on me and it’s next to fatal to practice a little civil disobedience on a sergeant.

Well, here’s wishing you a Merry Christmas and a New Year undimmed by the spectre of bus segregation.

Fraternally yours,
[signed] Wally Carrington

1. “Negroes Stop Riding Montgomery Buses in Protest over Jim Crow,” Jet, 22 December 1955, pp. 12-15. Walter C. Carrington (1930–), born in New York City, earned his B.A. (1952) and J.D. (1955) from Harvard University. Carrington was the founding president of the college’s NAACP branch, and in 1952 he became the first student and the youngest person elected to the NAACP National Board of Directors. After graduation, Carrington served with the US. Army for two years. He was named to the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination in 1957 but resigned in 1961 to serve in Sierra Leone, Tunisia, and Senegal as a Peace Corps administrator, becoming director of the Peace Corps in Africa in 1969. Two years later Carrington joined the African American Institute as executive vice president and publisher of its magazine, Africa Report. After serving in a variety of political, academic, and consulting positions, Carrington was appointed ambassador to Nigeria in 1993.

Source: DABCC-INP, Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church Collection, In Private Hands.

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