On 16 October Walker wrote of his congregation's concern for King's health and proposed several dates for King to speak in Petersburg, Virginia. Walker also enclosed a copy of a 16 October letter he wrote to SCLC executive director John Tilley stating his intention to form an SCLC branch in Virginia and to distribute Stride Toward Freedom.
Rev. Wyatt Tee Walker, Minister
The Gillfield Baptist Church
209 Perry Street
This is just a note to acknowledge receipt of your very kind letter of October 16. I should say to you in the beginning that I must be intensely interested in you and your work, because this is about the first letter that I have dictated to my secretary since the incident in New York. My doctors have urged me to rest at least another month without even dictating letters. But for Tee Walker, I am willing to disobey the doctors orders.
Because of the unfortunate incident in New York, my physicians have urged me to limit my speaking engagements for the next year. They suggest this in order to assure a complete recovery. In an attempt to follow this request from my physicians, I find that I must not accept any additional engagements for 1959. I will be very happy to consider your 1960 invitation. As soon as I begin accepting engagements for 1960, I will let you hear from me.
I am glad to know that you are interested in being an agent for the distribution of my book in Petersburg. I will discuss this matter with Rev. Tilley in just a few days.
It was certainly good hearing from you. Give my best regards to your lovely family.
Yours very truly,
Martin L. King, Jr.
MLKP-MBU, Martin Luther King, Jr., Papers, 1954-1968, Boston University, Boston, Mass.