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Churches - vandalism

King urges faithfulness amidst Montgomery church bombing trial; participates in Holt Street Baptist Church anniversary ceremony

At the end of the first day of the Montgomery church bombing trial, King urges a crowd at Hall Street Baptist Church to “keep faith” regardless of the court’s decision. King also participates in a ceremony celebrating the forty-eighth anniversary of Holt Street Baptist Church. 

Black churches and parsonages in Montgomery bombed; King and Abernathy return from Southern Negro Leaders Conference on Transportation and Nonviolent Integration

In the early morning four black churches and the parsonages of MIA leaders Robert Graetz and Ralph Abernathy are bombed in Montgomery. The Montgomery City Commission halts all bus service in the wake of the morning’s violence. King and Abernathy, in Atlanta for the Southern Negro Leaders Conference on Transportation and Nonviolent Integration at Ebenezer Baptist Church, are forced to return home and miss the opening session. In the afternoon King meets with FBI agents in Montgomery and requests that they investigate the bombings. 

Wallace, George Corley, Jr.

After pledging “Segregation now! Segregation tomorrow! Segregation forever!” in his 1963 inaugural address, Alabama Governor George Wallace gained national notoriety by standing at the entrance to the University of Alabama to denounce the enrollment of two African American students. Martin Luther King described Wallace as “perhaps the most dangerous racist in America today” (King, “Interview”). In a 1965 interview King said: “I am not sure that he believes all the poison that he preaches, but he is artful enough to convince others that he does” (King, “Interview”).

Graetz, Robert

As the white minister of an African American congregation in Montgomery, Alabama, Graetz’s home was bombed several times and he was harassed by white residents for his participation in the Montgomery bus boycott. In Martin Luther King, Jr.’s memoir of the boycott, Stride Toward Freedom, King recalled that Graetz served to remind those who were boycotting that “many white people as well as Negroes were applying the ‘love-thy-neighbor-as-thyself’ teachings of Christianity in their daily lives” (King, 74).

American Jewish Congress (AJC)

The American Jewish Congress (AJC) served as an ecumenical partner to Martin Luther King in the struggle for civil rights. In 1958 King spoke to the AJC convention declaring, “My people were brought to America in chains. Your people were driven here to escape the chains fashioned for them in Europe. Our unity is born of our common struggle for centuries, not only to rid ourselves of bondage, but to make oppression of any people by others an impossibility” (Papers 4:407).


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