KING, Martin Luther, Jr., (1829-1968). Typed letter signed ("Martin L. King, Jr.," with flourish) to literary agent Marie Rodell, Montgomery, Alabama, 18 December 1958. 1 page, 4to, on King's personal stationery, boldly signed.
"I GAINED SO MUCH OF MY INSPIRATION FROM MAHATMA GANDHI"
King, pastor of Montgomery's Dexter Avenue Baptist Church since 1954, had been in the forefront of the successful and highly publicized Montgomery bus boycott and in early 1957 had been named President of the newly formed Southern Christian Leadership Congress. Only four months before, King had published his recollections of the boycott, Stride Toward Freedom: the Montgomery Story, his first book. Here, King asks a literary agent to look into an Indian edition: "Have you had an opportunity to make contact...concerning the Indian publication of my book? If not, I have the name of another man who has a great deal of influence in India and who is interested in having the book published there. Naturally I am greatly concerned about the book being published in India, since I gained so much of my inspiration from Mahatma Gandhi. Knowing the economic situation in India, I realize that there would be little if any financial return from this venture. But this would not be my basic concern. My real interest would be to share my message with the people of that great country."
In February 1959, King fulfilled a long-sought ambition and spent a month in India, where he continued his studies of Gandhi's non-violence, which he hoped to employ in the struggle for Civil Rights in his own homeland. Upon arriving at New Delhi airport he told reporters that "to other countries I may go as a tourist, but to India I come as a pilgrim."