KING, Martin Luther, Jr. (1929-1968). Three typed letters signed ("Martin"), to literary agent Marie Rodell, Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, Montgomery, Ala., 22 March 1958, 12 April 1958 and 11 April 1959. Each 1 page, 4to. Fine condition.
KING PUBLISHES HIS ACCOUNT OF THE MONTGOMERY BUS BOYCOTT.
King, pastor of Montgomery's Dexter Avenue Baptist Church since 1954, had been in the forefront of the highly publicized Montgomery bus boycott and in early 1957 had been named President of the newly formed Southern Christian Leadership Congress. Here, King adds final touches to Stride Toward Freedom: the Montgomery Story, his account of the boycott. Harper & Row, King's publishers, wanted to hire a ghost writer for the book, but King resisted and drafted much of it himself. He allowed only close friends Bayard Rustin, Stanley Levison and Harris Wofford to help rewrite portions of it. King was writing and rewriting throughout the spring of 1958, and on 22 March tells his agent, "Enclosed is the final chapter of the book. After going over it, I think it is a little long and it will probably have to be cut down. The chapters seven and eight will be mailed as soon as they are typed. They are relatively short and their titles, respectively are: 'Friends Indeed' [and] 'Family in Siege.'" On 12 April he foregoes a $500 payment to recognize the efforts of the free-lance editor Harper hired, Mrs. Hermine I. Popper: "I agree that Mrs. Popper should be getting some money at this time. Therefore I suggest that you turn the five hundred dollars over to her." He also promises to send photographs to be included in the book. In the last letter, King belatedly declines an invitation to appear in New York, probably to promote the book, explaining that he had just returned from India: "Apparently this [March 27 letter from Harper] was misplaced in the flood of mail that accumulated during my absence from the country."
Stride was a critical success, but the royalties failed to fill the coffers of the SCLC as King hoped. Ironically, in light of King's desire to write the book himself, scholars later discovered that Stride contained portions of text plagiarized from the works of other theologians. Together three items. (3)