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Martin Luther King, Jr. Autograph Manuscript Page for His First Book, Stride Towards Freedom
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“Virtually every national or international union has clear policies of nondiscrimination ... But in spite of this some unions, governed by the racist ethos, have contributed to the degraded economic status of the Negroes…”

MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. Autograph Manuscript, a page from a late draft of Chapter 11 of his book, Stride Toward Freedom. Montgomery, n.d. [circa 1957]. The entire text, including corrections, is King’s hand. 1p., 8½ x 11 in.

Inventory #23300.03       Price: $17,500

Complete Transcript

Dr. King has handwritten at the top edge in red pencil “(insert p. X1-15 in place of second first paragraph in X1-175)” and in the upper left corner “insert / #2

“Certainly the labor movement has already made significant moves in this direction. Virtually every national or international union has clear policies of nondiscrimination and the national leaders of AFL-CIO have proclaimed sincerely the ultimate objective of eliminating racial bias not only from the American labor movement but also from American society as a whole. But in spite of this, it must be admitted that some unions, governed by the racist ethos, have contributed to the degraded economic status of the Negroes. Negros [sic] have.”

Historical Background

Martin Luther King, Jr.’s, first book, Stride Toward Freedom, is a first-hand account of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. A decision by the U.S. Supreme Court ended the boycott by ordering Alabama’s busses desegregated on December 20, 1956. Just months after the boycott’s end, King was asked to write a book chronicling the year-long struggle against Alabama’s segregation laws. In the book, he discusses racial tensions in Alabama before and after the boycott, as well as his personal beliefs in nonviolent resistance. Stride Towards Freedom was published on September 17, 1958, to critical acclaim.

This is a late draft of part of Chapter XI of Stride Toward Freedom. Only one edit was made between this manuscript and its publication on page 204 in the book (“it must be admitted that” here was replaced with “it must stand that”), in a chapter titled “Where Do We Go From Here?” He also used that chapter title as the title of his last book, published in 1967.

The words immediately preceding what Dr. King handwrote in the manuscript here offered: “The organized labor movement, which has contributed so much to the economic security and well-being of millions, must concentrate its powerful forces on bringing economic emancipation to white and Negro by organizing them together in social equality,” then our draft page, and then the complete sentence after what Dr. King has written here: “Negroes have been barred from membership in certain unions…”

Condition

Fine. Expertly separated from the prior page. Conserved with silk backing on verso. Fine.


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