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Lot
34518

Martin Luther King, Jr., Autograph Notecards (8) Containing Notes for a Speech, circa December 1959.... (Total: 8 Items)

2013 October 17 - 18 Manuscripts Grand Format Auction - New York #6102

 
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Auction Ended On: Oct 17, 2013
Item Activity: 3 Internet/mail/phone bidders
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Location: Heritage Auctions
445 Park Avenue, 15th Floor
New York, NY 10022
Description:
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., says Goodbye to Dexter Avenue Baptist Church
Martin Luther King, Jr., Autograph Notecards (8) Containing Notes for a Speech, circa December 1959. Each of the eight cards measures 6" x 4" and contains talking points for a speech which Dr. King gave to his congregation at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, accomplished entirely in his hand.

After six years as pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was ready to say goodbye. His success with the Montgomery Bus Boycott (which he spearheaded from his church office in the basement) helped to solidify his decision to move to Atlanta, his hometown, to head the Southern Christian Leadership Conference full-time. In addition, he agreed to take a position as co-pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church with his father. The time had come to talk to his congregation.

In preparation, Dr. King made out these notecards to gather his thoughts. He decided to begin by talking about the bus boycott and how for the last four years he has done the work of five men. In addition to pastoring the church, he has been president of the Montgomery Improvement Society (thus his involvement in the boycott), president of the SCLC (which entailed, in his words, endless amounts of work), he constantly traveled the country for speaking engagements, he was responsible for daily activities of the church such as answering mail, and the stress of being a national figure.

Wearing so many hats has begun to take its toll, according to King. He began to feel frustrated that he was doing too many jobs and none of them well. The MIA and SCLC were suffering and could be farther along but for lack of time. His creativeness as a speaker and preacher was lacking. As he puts it, when one man tries to do too much at one time, he makes a mess of everything. He was in desperate need of a change as his physical and emotional well-being were in jeopardy.

Dr. King had more than a dozen job offers over the years, but his responsibility to his congregation and the MIA always led him to decline. More recently, however, the pull of the SCLC and Ebenezer Baptist Church were leading him home toward Atlanta, though he expresses his wish that he could have done more for the church before leaving.

Following his move to Atlanta in early 1960, King, already a national figure in the civil rights movement, focused his efforts on desegregation, black voting rights, and labor rights and was the impetus behind events such as the March on Washington in 1963 and the Selma to Montgomery marches in 1965, leading to such legislation as the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Each card shows light toning, some of which have spots of foxing mostly confined to the edges.

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