September 21, 2022 11:00 EST

Books and Manuscripts

 
Lot 3
 

3

[African-Americana] King, Martin Luther, Jr.
Typed letter, signed

Martin Luther King, Jr.'s poignant letter to a Pennsylvania-based poet and supporter, sent at a critical moment leading up to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

“Without hope, all things become meaningless, and thus we who are so deeply involved in this nonviolent revolution must always keep in mind the conviction that our nation is moving towards its proper and pronounced ideal of real democracy and equality for all citizens.”

Atlanta, Georgia, May 19, 1964. One sheet, 11 x 8 1/2 in. (279 x 216 mm). Typed letter, on Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) stationery, signed by Martin Luther King, Jr., to Alban Wall of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, thanking him for his “sensitive letter and…moving poem,” and expressing his “deep appreciation for these expressions of your personal commitment to our search for freedom and justice.” Letter stapled to typed poem at top left corner, by Wall entitled "To My Black Brother"; original SCLC post-marked mailing envelope included. Creasing from original folds.

"Dear Mr. Wall:

Your sensitive letter and the moving poem which was attached have been received and I wish to express my very deep appreciation for these expressions of your personal commitment to our search for freedom and justice.

Without hope, all things become meaningless, and thus we who are so deeply involved in this nonviolent revolution must always keep in mind the conviction that our nation is moving towards its proper and pronounced ideal of real democracy and equality for all citizens.

Support such as you have indicated provides us with additional strength to continue our struggle with ever-increasing vigor, and love for those who would perpetuate injustice.

Thank you again for your letter. May God bestow His blessings upon you and Mrs. Wall and your loved ones.

Sincerely yours,

Martin Luther King, Jr."

As Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) began their civil rights campaign in St. Augustine, Florida, King wrote to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania poet, Alban Wall (1921-2005), thanking him for his support and for a poem Wall wrote in honor of Dr. King. King's letter was written the day after he and the SCLC made their first visit to St. Augustine, where demonstrations to end segregation had begun the previous summer. At this time the Civil Rights Act was stalled in a Senate filibuster after passing in the House on February 10, 1964, and King and the SCLC hoped that their support of the protests in the country's oldest city would help garner national attention in support of the Act's passage. A month after this letter, on June 19, the filibuster ended and the Civil Rights Act passed in the Senate, and on July 2, it was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson. Dr. King would go on to receive the Nobel Peace Prize later that year.

A carbon copy of the poem Wall sent to King, entitled "To My Black Brother", is stapled to this letter. Wall's letter to Dr. King transmitting his poem is currently not located.

Provenance

Alban Wall, thence by descent in the family

Sold for $10,080
Estimated at $6,000 - $9,000


 

Martin Luther King, Jr.'s poignant letter to a Pennsylvania-based poet and supporter, sent at a critical moment leading up to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

“Without hope, all things become meaningless, and thus we who are so deeply involved in this nonviolent revolution must always keep in mind the conviction that our nation is moving towards its proper and pronounced ideal of real democracy and equality for all citizens.”

Atlanta, Georgia, May 19, 1964. One sheet, 11 x 8 1/2 in. (279 x 216 mm). Typed letter, on Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) stationery, signed by Martin Luther King, Jr., to Alban Wall of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, thanking him for his “sensitive letter and…moving poem,” and expressing his “deep appreciation for these expressions of your personal commitment to our search for freedom and justice.” Letter stapled to typed poem at top left corner, by Wall entitled "To My Black Brother"; original SCLC post-marked mailing envelope included. Creasing from original folds.

"Dear Mr. Wall:

Your sensitive letter and the moving poem which was attached have been received and I wish to express my very deep appreciation for these expressions of your personal commitment to our search for freedom and justice.

Without hope, all things become meaningless, and thus we who are so deeply involved in this nonviolent revolution must always keep in mind the conviction that our nation is moving towards its proper and pronounced ideal of real democracy and equality for all citizens.

Support such as you have indicated provides us with additional strength to continue our struggle with ever-increasing vigor, and love for those who would perpetuate injustice.

Thank you again for your letter. May God bestow His blessings upon you and Mrs. Wall and your loved ones.

Sincerely yours,

Martin Luther King, Jr."

As Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) began their civil rights campaign in St. Augustine, Florida, King wrote to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania poet, Alban Wall (1921-2005), thanking him for his support and for a poem Wall wrote in honor of Dr. King. King's letter was written the day after he and the SCLC made their first visit to St. Augustine, where demonstrations to end segregation had begun the previous summer. At this time the Civil Rights Act was stalled in a Senate filibuster after passing in the House on February 10, 1964, and King and the SCLC hoped that their support of the protests in the country's oldest city would help garner national attention in support of the Act's passage. A month after this letter, on June 19, the filibuster ended and the Civil Rights Act passed in the Senate, and on July 2, it was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson. Dr. King would go on to receive the Nobel Peace Prize later that year.

A carbon copy of the poem Wall sent to King, entitled "To My Black Brother", is stapled to this letter. Wall's letter to Dr. King transmitting his poem is currently not located.

Provenance

Alban Wall, thence by descent in the family

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