In celebration of Martin Luther King Day on Monday, January 16, 2012, Swann galleries announces the auction of two inscribed copies of King’s Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story (1958).
A first edition of King’s book was presented to A. Philip Randolph [estimate: $8,000 - $12,000]. Randolph attended city college and studied politics and economics, and also joined the Socialist Party. In 1917, Randolph started a political magazine called The Messenger. In 1925, Randolph helped organize the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. It took twelve years to get the Brotherhood organized, but in 1937 a contract with the Pullman Company was signed. This made Randolph one of the first major Negro labor leaders in the country. In the 40′s and 50′s Randolph was influential in the struggle for civil rights. The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom was his idea. A crowd of 250,000 people witnessed this demonstration. After the march, Randolph, Martin L. King and other leaders met with President Kennedy, and a year later the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed. Over the next years Randolph was entrenched as the elder statesman of the movement. The book includes a full-page presentation to Randolph, who made extensive notes throughout the book.
King wrote, “To my dear friend A. Philip Randolph. In appreciation of the standards of loyalty, honestly, non-violence and the will to endure that you have held before all people in the struggle for freedom, justice and democracy, Martin.” Throughout the book, Randolph has underlined certain passages and made marginal notes. Between King’s printed words and the jottings of A. Philip Randolph, it’s like listening in on a personal conversation between these two great champions of racial equality.
King also sent a first edition of his book to Illinois Senator Paul H. Douglas, a long-time fighter for the Civil Rights Commission Act of 1957 [estimate: $5,000 - $7,500]. King wrote, “To Senator Paul H. Douglas. In appreciation for the great work you have so unselfishly done for the cause of freedom and human dignity. With warm Regards, Martin L King Jr.”
These two lots are part of Swann Auction Galleries’ upcoming Printed & Manuscript African Americana Sale taking place on March 1, 2012.