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William H. Gray, Jr., to Martin Luther King, Sr.

Gray, William H. Jr.
October 8, 1949
Philadelphia, Pa.
Martin Luther King, Jr. - Family


Gray, the pastor of Bright Hope Baptist Church in Philadelphia, tells King, Sr., of his recent meeting at Crozer with King, Jr.1The relationship between the Gray and King families would continue for many years.

Reverend M. L. King, Sr.
Ebenezer Baptist Church
Auburn Avenue at Jackson Street Northeast
Atlanta, Georgia

Dear Reverend King:

I am most appreciative of your letter of September twenty-eighth which your son was kind enough to forward to me from Crozer, and I assure you that I would consider it quite an honor to speak for your Men’s Day Program on Sunday morning, December 11.

I would appreciate it, however, if you would be kind enough to allow me until October 20 to write you a final word of acceptance, since I would like to clear up some previous speaking commitments which I have made, and which might preclude my serving you on the date in question. One informal commitment which has been pending is with Reverend Maynard Jackson there in Atlanta, and I am hoping to hear from him soon. I hope that there will be no conflict to prevent my serving you.

I was very pleased to have met your son at Crozer recently. He seems to be quite a fine young gentleman, and I am sure that you and Mrs. King must be proud of the record he is making for himself and his family. {This is about you—Come over to see me when you are in Phila. and have an opportunity to visit. [word illegible]} 2

Asking your prayers in my behalf, and with kindest personal regards, I remain

Sincerely yours,
Wm. H. Gray, Jr.


cc: Reverend M. L. King, Jr.

1. William Herbert Gray, Jr. (1911–1972), received his B.S. from Bluefield State College in 1933 and his M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1934 and 1942, respectively. He was president of Florida Normal and Industrial College at St. Augustine from 1941 to 1944 and of Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University at Tallahassee from 1944 to 1949. In 1949, he succeeded his father as pastor of Bright Hope Baptist Church in Philadelphia.

2. Gray inserted this invitation to King, Jr., and sent him a copy of the letter.


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