His story is taught in every classroom. His image fills our television screens every year. His voice has been played on every radio and radio station across the United States. Even his words, that towering statement built on four unbreakable blocks, each a single syllable I… Have… A… Dream... we’ve all read them. The man we know as Martin Luther King Jr. has become so great a hero, a herculean figure in our society that we quickly forget that he was a mortal man. He wrote letters and letters were written to him. He was a real tangible figure to which people were able to reach out. He had a mailbox that bursted with hate-mail and praise all at the same time. A letter of praise is what I offer today, not from some major figure in history, not from a politician, not even from a dear friend of Dr. King. I present a letter from Mr. and Mrs. Crosby of Newton Massachusetts…
“Dear Dr. King,
We enclose a check for $100.00 to be used in any way you need it for your cause. We are whites who have always been sympathetic to the Negro, but who felt for a long time that our best way to help was in our own small sphere of influence, as opportunities came, My husband was the first one to hire a Negro teacher on the faculty of Boston University, for instance. And in other ways we felt we did help, although we have also known it was not enough.
Nor do we pretend even to ourselves that this check in any way fulfills our obligation. But the stories and pictures in the newspapers this morning have at last stirred us this far, with their effect heightened by the movie we saw on TV last night, “Judgement at Nuremberg”. --I wonder whether additional showings of this picture, with its emphasis on individual responsibility and on the fact that injustice is just as wrong when it affects one person as it is when it affects thousands. It might be useful in your work. I know it had an effect on me…
...We shall try to send more from time to time if we can. May God protect you, your family, and your people in your struggle, and bless you with real success by opening the eyes and hearts of the rest of us. Sincerely yours,
Mr. and Mrs. Harry H. Crosby”
(This week’s letter was found in the archives of The King Center at www.thekingcenter.org)