Goodwin College

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Maude Ballou served as Dr. King’s first secretary from 1955 to 1960. Born and raised in Alabama, she graduated from Southern University in Baton Rouge, Lousiana in 1947, earning a bachelor of science in business administration. She and her husband Leonard Ballou moved to Montgomery in 1952. Ballou assisted King and the Montgomery Improvement Association throughout the Montgomery Bus Boycott. She often would write letters on King’s behalf and played a critical role in responding to letters.

The Civil Rights portion of this collection contains everything from speeches, to magazines and other publications, to travel itineraries, carpool schedules, voter registrations materials, as well as copious correspondence from individuals around the world – mostly in support of the various groups’ efforts but a few critical of them. Groups represented include the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church.

Also included in the collections are music, poems, and a play, sent to the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA) in support of the Bus Boycott and Civil Rights Movement. The Montgomery Bus Boycott and the wider civil rights movements, garnered international attention and inspired artists and musicians to fight for change through art, music, and theater with the hope that it would rally the people to action.


Collections are stored off site and a minimum of 2 week notice is needed to retrieve the items for use. Researchers interested in consulting any of the collections are advised to email



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