Martin Luther King, Jr. - Arrests
Moments after Judge Eugene W. Carter fined King $500 for violating an antiboycott law, a crowd of three hundred cheering supporters greeted King and his wife outside the courthouse. In an impromptu curbside press conference King expresses his faith that the verdict would be overturned on appeal and that the boycott would continue in the same spirit of nonviolent resistance.
Following their 16 December 1961 arrest in Albany, Georgia, King, Ralph Abernathy, and William G. Anderson are transferred to Sumter County Jail in Americus. On this jail ledger, King is listed as number forty-five and is referred to as a “[Niger? ] male.”
These handwritten notes, likely written after King’s arrest on 27 July 1962 while leading a prayer vigil at Albany City Hall, indicate his reasons for remaining in jail: “1. After weighing the total situation, I think it will be a blow to the morale of the people if I leave at this point. 2. It will be misinterpreted and distorted by the press in view of the fine being mysteriously paid in the other instance of my arrest here.”
After deliberating for three hours and forty-three minutes, an all-white jury acquitted King of perjury for signing a false state income tax return. A news report indicated that King seemed “stunned” by the verdict, while his parents “collapsed in tears.”1 Outside the Montgomery courtroom, King delivers this statement to the press. This transcript was drawn from television news footage.
On 19 October—three days after the close of the SNCC conference—Atlanta police arrested King and student activists who had requested service at the Magnolia Room, a segregated restaurant at Rich’s department store in downtown Atlanta.1 Organized by the Atlanta Committee on an Appeal for Human Rights the sit-in was one of several conducted simultaneously at lunch counters throughout the city.2 After charges were dropped against many of the
King writes to his wife from the Georgia State Prison at Reidsville. He tells her “that it is extremely difficult for me to think of being away from you and my Yoki and Marty for four months” but that his ordeal “is the cross that we must bear for the freedom of our people.”
On 26 October, Massachusetts senator and presidential candidate John F. Kennedy telephoned Coretta Scott King from Chicago and expressed his concern about her husband's imprisonment.1 Kennedy's brother and campaign manager Robert initiated a series of calls to Georgia officials, including Judge J.
Upon King’s return from North Carolina, two Fulton County sheriff deputies appeared at his Ebenezer office and took him into custody on the afternoon of 17 February.
One week before the presidential election, King announces that he has no plans to endorse a candidate but expresses gratitude for the Democratic nominee's concern about his imprisonment: “I hope that this example of Senator Kennedy's courage will be a lesson deeply learned.”1