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    Martin Luther King, Jr., Autograph Letter Twice Signed. Four pages, 7.5" x 8.75", Bombay [India], February 27, 1959. On February 3, 1959, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., his wife Coretta, and Lawrence D. Reddick (1910-1995), a history professor at Alabama State College and early biographer of King, began a five week tour of India. King, an admirer of Mohandas Gandhi, wanted to better understand the principles of nonviolent civil disobedience practiced by the Mahatma years before.

    Writing from Bombay three weeks into his tour, King penned this letter to his friend and personal secretary, Maude L. Ballou, regarding matters back home. Having received several letters containing various invitations to speak, King gives Mrs. Ballou a list of names with a reply for each: to the Reverend E. S. Branch, he asks that she tell him that, having been out of the country for several weeks, he will need to make an appearance in his own church that Sunday; to Norman S. Hill Jr. he says he will not be able to make it to Chicago for several weeks; to the Reverend McKinley with the Urban League of Portland [Oregon], he says that he would love to come to Portland and serve, but it must be at a later date; and to the Reverend Harold R. Kinney he says that he must decline as he has no free Sundays.

    Dr. King also requests that she send a copy of his latest book, Stride Toward Freedom, (published the year before) to Frances Bolton, a congresswoman from Ohio, and asks that she inscribe it for him, joking that her handwriting will need to become bad to mimic his. He writes in the letter exactly what the inscription to Congresswoman Bolton should say and places his signature directly after (the first of two found in this letter). He concludes by asking her to look up a friend's address in Cairo as he wants to pay him a visit.

    King's journey through India helped to reinforce his commitment to the principles of nonviolence and social change. With the original transmittal envelope addressed in his hand. Aside from the usual folds, the letter is in fine condition.

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    Auction Dates
    October, 2013
    17th-18th Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 9
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,907

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    We had a wonderful time in New York during the October 2013 Historical Manuscripts auction that featured my mother’s papers collected during her tenure as Martin Luther King, Jr.’s secretary. In fact, the entire experience from beginning to end has been a pleasure.
    Howard Ballou,
    Brandon, MS
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