April 2023 Catalogue

19. KING Jr., Martin Luther. Stride Toward Freedom. The Montgomery Story. New York, 1958. Octavo, original half black cloth, dust jacket, second dust jacket supplied from another copy. $32,500. First edition, first printing, of Dr. King’s first book, an account of the Montgomery bus strike, a superb association copy to local activists central to the success of the strike: “To: Mr. & Mrs. A. L. Campbell With best wishes and warm Personal Regards. Martin L. King Jr.” In his first book, King presents a full and personal account of the bus strike in Montgomery, Alabama. First printing, with publisher’s code “H-H” on copyright page, indicating that it was printed in August, 1958. Blockson 4119. The recipients of this copy, Alfonso L. Campbell and his wife, Lucy B. Campbell, were prominent members of the Montgomery, Alabama African American community and among the early organizers of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. When the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA) was formed on December 5, 1955, Alfonso Campbell became co-chair of the MIA’s Transportation Committee. The Committee played a critical role in the boycott’s ultimate success by creating a vast carpool and taxi network in Montgomery that sustained the protest by circumventing the city’s bus system for 13 months. With over a decade of experience as Supervisor of Transportation at Alabama State, Alfonso was instrumental in helping maintain the efficient operation of this complex transportation system, at great personal risk to his job at Alabama State. During the long months when the boycott’s success was uncertain, the MIA held weekly mass meetings and sermons, which Alfonso and Lucy often attended. Following the Supreme Court ruling in Browder v. Gayle that ended segregation on public transportation, Dr. King officially ended the boycott on December 20, 1956. The following morning Alfonso rode on one of the first desegregated buses in Montgomery alongside Dr. King and other Black leaders in the community who had tirelessly worked to achieve their goal. Alfonso and Lucy first met Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1954 when King gave his first sermon as the 20th pastor of the prominent Dexter Avenue Baptist Church (which, although not the Campbell’s home church, had been connected to their family for generations and which they often attended). When the Montgomery Bus Boycott took shape in the winter of 1955, following the arrest of activist and Campbell family friend Rosa Parks, Alfonso and Lucy became some of its most active participants and among its early organizers who sought justice. They attended the first mass community meeting held at Holt Street Baptist Church on December 5, 1955 that created the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA) to guide the boycott, and they elected Dr. King as its president. In the years following the boycott, the Campbells remained friends with the King family, and remained involved with the MIA. With Lucy Campbell’s signed bookplate, and her autograph initials on the text block edges. Book with wear to extremities. Original dust jacket in pieces, provided with this copy; a second first-issue dust jacket, with light wear and in extremely good condition, has been supplied from another copy.