University Archives

Lot 185

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M.L. King "After the March: An Open Letter to the American People"

11pp, typed letter with a printed facsimile of King's signature, titled "After the March: An Open Letter to the American People." In an addressed to the citizens of the United States, King champions the successes of recent marches and predicts "Voting Rights legislation looms as a certainty in the weeks ahead." Despite this success, King goes on to express the horrors and suffering they were met with in Montgomery, Alabama.Ex-Maude Ballou, Martin Luther King, Jr.'s first secretary.

The letter reads, in part:

"...as the inspired throng returned to their homes to organize the final phase of political activity which would complete the revolution so eloquently proclaimed by the word and presence of the multitude in Montgomery; the scent of victory in the air gave way to the stench of death. And we were reminded. We were reminded that this was not a march to the capital of a civilized nation as was the March on Washington. We had marched through a swamp of poverty, ignorance, race hatred and sadism...We were reminded of the return to 'business as usual' which followed swiftly on the heels of the abolitionist fervor, and the deaf ears which were turned to the suffering of Negroes once the North had expunged its guilt and preserved the union." King goes on to speak of the bombings and deaths that had been ignored by Governor Wallace, including the "bestial murder" of Viola Liuzzo. Liuzzo, a white woman, had been transporting marchers from Montgomery back to Selma when she was shot and killed. 

In an attempt to continue in his campaign of non-violent protests, King calls for readers to stage a boycott of Montgomery and of Alabama business on the whole. He continues, "It is my hope that it will be unnecessary to call for a boycott of specific consumer products, and that the response to the first stages of this economic withdrawal will be sufficient to set in motion the kind of response in the business community to change Alabama's political climate, but we are prepared to mobilize whatever resources which might prove necessary to preserve justice, law, Democracy, and the lives of innocent Negroes...Granted that a boycott is not perfect nor a pretty device. It seeks to use practical monetary means to enable men of reason to speak out in the name of expediency and say the things they are afraid to say in the name of moral truth. The boycott is a David of truth sent out against a Goliath of oppression."

At the top left corner of the first page has been written "file Alabama" in black ink. Dampstaining, soiling, and chipping along the left vertical edge. Paper loss at left edge, with tearing at the lower spine edge. 

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.


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September 30, 2020 10:30 AM EDT

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