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From William J. Faulkner

Faulkner, William J. (Congregational Church of Park Manor (Chicago, Ill.))
March 9, 1956
Chicago, Ill.
Montgomery Bus Boycott


The Congregational Church of Park Manor in Chicago was one of many northern churches that raised funds to support the bus protest. Its minister, William J. Faulkner, had worked with King’s grandfather, A. D. Williams, at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.1 Faulkner refers to Williams’s “tremendous fight” for passage of a 1921 school bond issue, which resulted in the building of eighteen new schools, including four black elementary schools and Atlanta’s first secondary school for blacks.2 King replied on 4 June.3

The Reverend M. L. King,
Montgomery Improvement Association,
309 South Jackson Street,
Montgomery, Alabama.

Dear Mr. King:

A few days ago our church sent to your organization, a check for $286.05, in response to my appeal that we contribute generously in support of the worthy cause which you and other courageous leaders are fighting for in Montgomery. We are not only willing to give of our money, but we are also praying that your protest against injustice may succeed.

I think the whole world is amazed and gratified over your non-violent but firm crusade to correct some age-old social evils, and to remove man’s brutal indignities to his brothers. More power to you, my friend! And may the mantle of your fearless and distinguished grandfather fall heavily upon your shoulders.

It was my joy and privilege to serve in the Sunday School and church of the Reverend A. D. Williams, back in the early twenties. And I know something of the tremendous fight which he put up to {with) the NAACP to get decent schools for colored children in the city of Atlanta. He and his colleagues won in that struggle, and I am convinced that you and yours will win out in Montgomery.

Faithfully and cordially yours,
W. J. Faulkner,

WJF:elc {Mrs. Faulkner and I hold your father and mother in very high esteem.}

1. William J. Faulkner (1891-1987), born in Society Hill, South Carolina, earned a B.H. (1914) from Springfield College and an M.A. (1935) from the University of Chicago. In 1934 he joined Fisk University’s staff as minister and dean of men, becoming dean of the chapel in 1942. That year he also served as president of Nashville’s NAACP. He left Fisk in 1953 to become the first pastor of the Park Manor Congregational Church in Chicago. Faulkner was a member of the executive committee of the Fellowship of Reconciliation.

2. See Introduction to The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr., vol. 1: Called to Serve, January 1929 -June 1951, ed. Clayborne Carson, Ralph E. Luker, and Penny A. Russell (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1992), p. 17.

3. See p. 292 in this volume.


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