Bell, a member of Ebenezer Baptist Church, graduated from Morehouse College in 1950. In this letter from Sheppard Air Force Base he discusses his plan to return to Atlanta.
Hello M. L. :
Hope this letter finds you and your wife well and in the best of health. Virginia and I are doing fine at the present time, but still anxiously counting the days until my separation from the Service, so that again we can be on our way back to Atlanta! Do you know that we have not been there since March of 1953? Boy, that is certainly a long time. I can hardly imagine what the place must look like at this time. All I know is that we will be greatly overjoyed to go back there.
We received your letter a couple of days ago, and were more than pleased to learn that you are doing so well. But, it is no more than was expected by us. We are still undecided as to what route we will be taking going back to Atlanta, as I am still awaiting a letter from Atlanta U. as to when I will have to report for my Field Work assignment. If it should happen to be the first of September, as I am afraid it will be, then we will probably have to forego any stops we might have been anticipating. If I shouldn’t have to report until a later date than anticipated, then we will be going by way of San Antonio, and possibly a trip through Montgomery. We sure hope that this is possible, as we do so want to meet your wife, and see your Church, as we have heard so much about it and the fine work you are doing through the family.
We took a brief trip this past weekend to San Antonio to visit Charles Price and his wife Gwendolyn—perhaps you remember some of the Prices that were at the ‘House—who last week had another addition to their family. They had a boy, which is their third child. Virginia wanted to go down there, as she and “Gwen” are quite friendly, so I had to drive her down. As it turned out, we had quite a nice time. But I suppose after living in this place for awhile, any town would be quite a pleasant change. This town is about the closest thing to nothing that I have ever seen! If you could visit here you would see what I mean. And the people here don’t seem to be progressive at all! I sure hope they will change, or they will be in pretty sad shape before long.
I guess this is about all for now, as I must get back to work before I get “fired” (smile). If the opportunity should avail itself drop us a line. We will be looking to hear from you, and as soon as I hear from A.U. I will let you know if we will be able to come by there.
WILLIAM A BELL
MLKP, MBU, Martin Luther King, Jr., Papers, 1954-1968, Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center, Boston University, Boston, Mass.