ML King Digital Archives – Letters from children

Quite a few of the documents on The King Center’s Digital Archives – which went live on Martin Luther King Day on Monday – are letters. Some are letters from African-American adults asking Dr. King for help, or pointing out issues in their localities. Quite a few of the letters, though, are from children.

There’s this one asking for Dr. King for an interview for their “negro” history project in 7th grade. We have no idea if they got the interview. And we have no idea how their project turned out, given that King was killed two months after the letter was written.

A lot of children’s letters on the site, in fact, were written in the days after Dr. King’s death. Most of them run along the same lines as this one, by Frank J. Pastor, written on April 5, 1968. It said simply:

Dear Mis. King

I hope you will be Happee.

We are praying for hime.

I hope your famelee will be Hppee.

I hope you will be Happee.

Another one, written Karen Ladin, was actually addressed to God. But it was apparently send to Dr. King. We have no age or information on the letter writer. But from the handwriting, we can deduce she was still in grade school.

Then there’s this letter asking Dr. King how he became famous. We don’t know what King, whose last sermon preached against the vagaries of fame, thought of the letter, or if he answered it.

Check out the letters and get a sense of the era at TheKingCenter.org.

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