The Librarian And Dr. King: Juliette Hampton Morgan

I stumbled upon the incredible story of Juliette Morgan today, a Montgomery librarian who received hatemail and death threats for writing letters to the Montgomery Advertiser in support of the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955. In his book Stride Toward Freedom, Martin Luther King Jr. credits Morgan with helping him see the connection between Gandhi’s teachings of non-violence and the nascent movement he would soon lead.

When the letters appeared, the Mayor of Montgomery demanded that the Library fire Morgan but they refused. She was warned, however, not to write anymore letters. A year later when another letter appeared, the Mayor again demanded Morgan be fired. To their credit, Library trustees still refused to fire her, and the Mayor withheld funding from the Library so Morgan’s job would be cut. Morgan soon resigned from her job and later committed suicide. In 2005 the main branch of the Montgomery Public Library was named after her. For more on Morgan see Juliette Hampton Morgan: A White Woman Who Understood and Journey Toward Justice: Juliette Hampton Morgan And the Montgomery Bus Boycott, University of Georgia Press, 2006.

Posted by Marc Meola

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