Seth Kaller, Inc.

Inspired by History

Other African American History Offerings


Other Great Gifts Offerings


Other Books Offerings


Martin Luther King Jr. Inscribes Stride Toward Freedom to Pioneer Civil Rights Leader A. Philip Randolph
Click to enlarge:
Select an image:

To my dear Friend A. Philip Randolph.

     In appreciation of the standards of loyalty, honesty, non-violence, and the will to endure that you have held before all people in the struggle for freedom justice, and democracy.


A remarkable association of two key leaders of the Civil Rights movement, highlighting not only their similarities but also areas of disagreement. It offers important insights into their views at a critical moment in the fight for African-American equality. King’s book, with a rich personal inscription, was transformed by Randolph into a sort of dialog between them by his copious annotations, making this volume one of if not the most important King-signed book in existence.

Randolph annotated or marked 69 of the volume’s 224 pages. He underlined passages he found particularly powerful, and commented in the margins, echoing or amplifying King’s words.

MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.. Signed Copy of Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story, first edition. Inscribed to A. Philip Randolph. With Randolph’s annotations. New York: Harper and Row, 1958. 224 pp.

Inventory #27430       Price: $245,000

Randolph has underlined certain passages throughout the book and here and there made marginal notes, in effect creating a conversation with King. In the chapter “The Violence of Desperate Men," for example, Randolph wrote “Southern Senators and Congressmen and politicians, and some religious leaders have created a climate by their violent racist public statements that make racial violence inevitable.” Especially in the 35-page final chapter, “Where Do We Go From Here,” Randolph has covered numerous pages with notes, ie,: “America's schizophrenic personality on the question of race.”

Randolph’s annotations - excerpts

·   “White Citizen Council intimidated Southern moderates”

·   “Negro worker has a right to expect the trade unions to help him secure economic and political rights”

·   “Prediction of violence is an invitation to action,” added to the side of King discussing the effects that leaders’ statements have had on unfolding events. (p137)

·   “Use of tragic effects of segregation as argument for its continuation”

·   “Non-violence is a way of humility and self-restraint”

·   “Inflammatory statements of white Southern leaders make for violence” (p192)

·   “Future of USA bound up with how this problem of race is handled and solved” (p197)

·   “A first class nation cannot afford second class citizenship” (p197)

·   “Morals cannot be legislated but behavior can be regulated” (p198)

·   “Poor whites suffer poverty while clinging to the myth of racial superiority” (p204)

·   While MLK believed that the end goal must be “redemption and reconciliation,” Randolph declared that that ultimately, the “Negro must fight and suffer for his rights.”

Samples of Underlined Passages
·   Rosa Parks “was not ‘planted’ there by the NAACP, or any other organization; she was planted there by her personal sense of dignity and self-respect. She was anchored to that seat by the accumulated indignities of days gone by and the boundless aspirations of generations yet unborn…” (p44)

·   “But the forces of good will failed to come through. The Office of the President was appallingly silent, though just an occasional word from this powerful source, counseling the nation on the moral aspects of integration and the need for complying with the law, might have saved the South from much of its present confusion and terror.” and added the annotation, “lack of Presidential leadership in the racial crisis.” (p195)

·   “As a result of the failure of the moral forces of the nation to mobilize behind school integration, the forces of defeat were given the chance to organize and crystallize their opposition. While the good people stood silently and complacently by, the misguided people acted.” APR added annotation, “Failure of moral forces of the nation to mobilize back of the court decision for desegregation.” (p196)

·   “Government action is not the whole answer to the present crisis, but it is an important partial answer.Morals cannot be legislated, but behavior can be regulated.” Randolph repeats the second sentence in the margin. (p198)


·   “The church can reveal that the continual outcry concerning intermarriage is a distortion of the real issue. It can point out that the Negro’s primary aim is to be the white man’s brother, not his brother-in-law.” APR reiterates in the margin, “Negro seeks to become the white man’s brother not his brother-in-law.” (p206)

Asa Philip Randolph (1889-1979) was born and grew up in Florida. He excelled at an African American high school and moved to New York City in 1911, where he worked and took courses at City College. In 1913, he married Howard University graduate Lucille Campbell Green. He helped organize the Shakespearean Society in Harlem and opened an employment office to train southern migrants and encourage them to join trade unions. In 1917, he founded a monthly magazine affiliated with the Socialist Party. In 1920 and 1922, he ran unsuccessfully for state office as a Socialist. In 1925 he founded and served as the first president of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, the first successful black labor union. Although opposition from the Pullman Company hurt the union, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s election in 1932 and subsequent legislation revived it.

In 1941, Randolph was among the leaders who proposed a march on Washington to protest racial discrimination, but the plan was cancelled when President Roosevelt issued an executive order ending discrimination in war industries. He also organized pressure that led President Harry S. Truman to issue another executive order desegregating the armed forces. Truman then proposed a Civil Rights Act, but was stymied by the power of white southern senators. By the 1960s, Randolph was recognized as the dean of the American Civil Rights Movement. In 1963, he was one of the leaders of six major organizations who met to organize the legendary March on Washington, naming Randolph as march director. Randolph also assisted King in preparing his immortal “I Have a Dream” speech, assuring King that he could speak longer than the official four-minute maximum that other speakers had to abide by.

Additional Historical Background – Randolph and King
On September 20, 1958, three days after the book was publicly released, King was signing copies of the book at Blumstein’s Department Store in Harlem, New York when he was attacked by a mentally ill woman who stabbed him with a 7” steel letter opener. According to doctors who operated on the 29-year-old civil rights leader, “Had Dr. King sneezed or coughed, the weapon would have penetrated the aorta.… He was just a sneeze away from death”[1]

Randolph stepped forward to chair a fundraising drive to cover expenses relating to the attack and King’s recovery.  On November 8, 1958, King wrote to Randolph, thanking him, and perhaps reflecting on experience writing this first book. “Brother Randolph,” “I don’t know if you have ever considered writing an autobiography. I certainly hope you will. What you have done and what you have achieved should be placed in a document for generations yet unborn to read and meditate upon.”[2]

Additional Historical Background on the Topic of this Book, the Montgomery Bus Boycott
The city of Montgomery, Alabama, developed a system of segregation in which the ten front seats on all city buses were reserved for white people at all times. The ten back seats were reserved for African Americans, and the sixteen seats in the middle were used on a segregated basis depending on the race of the riders. If no seats were available for black riders, they had to stand (even if the white seat rows were empty), and it was illegal for black and white people to sit next to each other in the same row.

On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks, a seamstress and secretary for the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) refused to give up her middle section seat for a white man. City police arrested Parks for failing to obey the driver, and she was found guilty and fined $10 plus $4 in court costs. She appealed. Local NAACP president E. D. Nixon intended to use her case to challenge the city’s segregation of public buses. A group of ministers met at the church pastored by Martin Luther King Jr. and organized the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA), eventually selecting King to lead the boycott.

The MIA demanded courteous treatment by bus drivers, passengers seated on a first-come, first-served basis with black people in the back half and white people in the front half of each bus, and the employment of black drivers on routes predominantly used by black riders.

The boycott proved very effective as African Americans organized carpools, and black taxi drivers charged the same fare as the buses to support the boycott. White Citizens’ Councils firebombed King’s house and four black Baptist churches. King was arrested for conspiring to interfere with a business, and spent two weeks in jail, but his arrest drew national attention to the protest, and pressure increased across the country.

The federal district court ruled in June 1956 that Alabama’s racial segregation laws for buses were unconstitutional, but the state appealed the decision, and the boycott continued. On November 13, 1956, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the district court’s ruling, and the bus boycott officially ended on December 20, 1956, after 382 days.

Condition: Front free endpaper absent. Some spine and dust jacket flaws. Despite wear, original dust jacket remains bright and presents nicely for display. Housed in custom black morocco-backed clamshell case.

Add to Cart Ask About This Item Add to Favorites