NEW YORK — An unprecedented trove of material relating to the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., – including King’s handwritten notes on eight cards containing the outline of his famed “Dexter Avenue Church Farewell Address,” circa 1960 – will be offered onOct. 17 as part of Heritage Auctions’ Signature Historical Manuscripts event in New York.
The material, more than 100 artifacts in all, are coming to auction after more than half a century in the possession of 87-year-old Maude Ballou, Martin Luther King Jr.’s friend and personal secretary.
“The Ballou material provides a ground-level perspective of the civil rights struggle,” says Sandra Palomino, director of Historical Manuscripts at Heritage Auctions. “This material, available for the very first time, is unprecedented and illustrates the role of the church and the Reverend King’s leadership.”
As a child growing up in the South during the 1960s, Howard Ballou, Maude’s son, was privileged to witness history.
“These are treasures from my mom’s years at the beginning of the civil rights movement,” said Howard. “My mother has finally decided that, after half a century safeguarding this material, and Dr. King’s legacy, she wants to share these items with the public. It’s time for them to be appreciated by others as much as we’ve appreciated them.”
As King’s secretary, Ballou handled his schedule, wrote letters on his behalf, and received correspondence from King and other civil rights leaders.
“Maude Ballou communicated with all the great leaders of the day,” said Palomino. “Rosa Parks, Adam Clayton Powell, Ralph Abernethy, Wyatt Tee Walker, you name it. She worked closely with Dr. King in all of his writing and editing.”
Heritage Auctions will be donating a portion of its proceeds from the auction of The Ballou Papers to Alabama State University.
For more information on this sale, visit www.ha.com.