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Biographical Investigation
Final Report
Presesented to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection,
Historic Preservation Office
December 12, 2017
Background………………………………………………………………………………….1 
SECTION1: Methodology…………………………………………………………………..6 
SECTION 2: The Context of Camden………………………………………………………11 
SECTION 3: Establishing Residency ……………………………………………………… 15 
SECTION 4: Conclusions……………………………………………………………...........39 
SECTION 5: Bibliography…………………………………………………………………..40 
APPENDIX A: 
Property Report Cards: 753-755 Walnut Street, Camden (1958-9) 
Sanborn Map: 700 Block of Walnut Street, Camden (1950)  
APPENDIX B: 
700 Walnut Street, Camden: City Block Reconstruction  
APPENDIX C: 
Timeline of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Activity (June 1948-May 1951) 
APPENDIX D: 
Oral History/Email Interview Transcripts 
PLEASE NOTE:  This is a revised version of the Final Report initially submitted to the New 
Jersey Historic Preservation Office on November 30, 2017.  It incorporates the addition of a 
transcribed interview of Camden resident Ms. Thelma Lowery in Appendix D (appearing on 
pages 136-146), as well as analysis of the same in the report narrative.


Bibliographical Investigation: MLK and 753 Walnut Street Final Report
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Background:
In  November  2016,  Stockton  University  responded  to  a  Call  for  Proposals  issued  by  the  New 
Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Historic Preservation Office (HPO).  The final 
scope of work was completed in late January 2017 and a preliminary report submitted in August 
of the same year. The HPO sought a biographical investigation of Martin Luther King, Jr. and, 
more  specifically,  the  potential  significance  of  753  Walnut  Street,  Camden,  New  Jersey,  to  his 
life, philosophy, and subsequent activism.   
Stockton’s  research  team,  under  the  direction  of  Dr.  John  F.  O’Hara,  Associate  Professor  of 
General  Studies,  and  Mr.  Paul  W.  Schopp,  Assistant  Director  for  the  university’s  South  Jersey 
Culture and History Center (SJCHC), included Dr. Michelle McDonald, Associate Professor of 
History and Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, as well as two graduate students in 
the  Master  of  Arts  in  American  Studies  Program  (MAAS),  Brianna  Cardinale  and  Kymberly 
Bylone.    Additional  consultation  came  from  Dr.  Thomas  Kinsella,  Professor  of  Literature  and 
Director of the SJCHC, and Dr. Robert Gregg, Professor of History and Dean of the School of 
General Studies. 
The  research  team’s  objective  was  to  provide  the  HPO  with  an  independent  evaluation  of 
evidence related to both the quantity and quality of time Martin Luther King, Jr. may have spent 
at 753 Walnut Street between 1948 and 1951, while he studied at Crozer Theological Seminary 
in  Upland  (Chester),  Pennsylvania.    In  particular,  the  team  sought  any  evidence  of  the  impact 
King’s  potential  time  spent  at  this  property  may  have  had  on  his  formative  experiences  before 
emerging as a prominent civil rights leader. This report summarizes this work in five sections: 
The  property  at  753  Walnut  Street  has  been  a  site  of  historical  interest  since  early  2015,  when 
Camden  County  resident  Patrick  Duff  began  investigating  the  location  after  learning  of  a 
criminal  complaint  that  Walter  R.  McCall  filed  in  the  early  hours  of  June  12,  1950  in  the 
township of Maple Shade, Burlington County, New Jersey.  The complaint alleges that the night 
before,  a  Sunday  night,  Ernest  Nichols,  the  proprietor  of  Mary’s  Place  Tavern,  “did  willfully 
refuse to serve beverages of any kind, used profane and obscene language, and intimidation by 
weapon  to  the  complainants  named  above.”    A  handwritten  addendum  alleges  discriminatory 
intent, noting: “amended as follows—such refusal being by reason of complainants [sic] color in 
violation of R.S. 10:1-3 [e.g., exclusion based on race] and supplements thereto.”  



Bibliographical Investigation: MLK and 753 Walnut Street Final Report
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to preserve and commemorate the physical structure at 753 Walnut Street. He has also publicized 
his  efforts,  and  created  a  coalition  of  residents,  local  officials  and  agencies  advocating  for 
preservation of the building for its historical association with King.  These include the Camden 
County  Branch  of  the  NAACP,  Father  Michael  Doyle  of  Sacred  Heart  Church,  and  Heart  of 
Camden, an urban nonprofit development organization associated with Sacred Heart.2   
In  early  2015,  the  Courier-Post  reported  on  Duff’s  efforts  in  relation  to  753  Walnut  and  his 
“central  thesis…that  Camden,  South  Jersey,  and  the  region,  shaped  King,  turning  him  towards 
his  life’s  work.”3    Newsworks  and  NBC-10  Philadelphia  reported  that  same  week  on  Duff’s 
“fight  to  save”  King’s  “former  home  in  Camden.”4    In  an  interview,  Duff  discussed  the 
importance of historic preservation, “to know the history that Martin Luther King actually lived 
here,  studied  here,  and  that  one  of  the  great  civil  rights  leaders  in  the  world  was  formulated 
partially  in  this  house.”5    Duff  subsequently  appealed  to  the  New  Jersey  Historic  Preservation 
Office  (HPO),  housed  within  the  state’s  Department  of  Environmental  Protection,  to  nominate 
the property for the New Jersey Register of Historic Places.   
Throughout  2016,  efforts  to  preserve  and  restore  the  property  expanded.  In  August  2016, 
Camden Mayor Dana Redd and U.S. Representative Donald Norcross wrote letters to the HPO 
supporting Duff’s application.  Mayor Reed’s letter cited “abundant evidence that places Martin 
Luther  King,  Jr.  living  at  this  address,  on  and  off,  for  a  period  of  two  years  [and]…links  the 
property  and  the  City  of  Camden  to  Dr.  King’s  very  first  civil  rights  action.”6    Congressman 
Norcross’s  letter  asks  the  HPO  to  “consider  designating  [the  property]  a  historically  valuable 
landmark worthy of preserving.”7   
2 In 2011, the latter two also previously supported efforts to restore another property in Camden, 940 Newton 
Avenue, a residence that King also allegedly visited during his time in the region. See: Steve Wood, “Preserving a 
Dream,” Courier-Post (January 11, 2011).  See also: Jason Laday, “Camden House Where MLK Visited Now 
Occupied ‘by drug dealers and prostitutes,’” South Jersey Times via Nj.com, September 19, 2014; efforts to 
investigate that property further have ceased: 
http://www nj.com/camden/index.ssf/2014/09/camden house where martin luther king visited now occupied by
drug users and prostitutes html .  
3 Kevin C. Shelley, “Details uncovered about MLK’s former Camden home,” Courier-Post, February 17, 2015, 
http://www.courierpostonline.com/story/news/local/south-jersey/2015/02/17/camden-home-part-history/23576021/ 
4 Aaron Moselle, “Camden Man Fights to Save House Where Martin Luther King Stayed,” Newsworks.org online, 
NBC-10, February 15, 2015, http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/NJ-Man-Fights-to-Save-House-Where-
Martin-Luther-King-Jr-Stayed-291502631 html 
5 Christina Lobrutto, “Camden House Where MLK Once Stayed Could Become Civil Rights Headquarters,” 
PhillyVoice, February 15, 2015, http://www.phillyvoice.com/camden-house-mlk-civil-rights-headquarters/   
6 Quoted in Ryanne Persinger, “Support Continues for Preservation of MLK Camden Home,” The Philadelphia 
Tribune
, August 23, 2016, http://www.phillytrib.com/news/support-continues-for-preservation-of-mlk-camden-
home/article e593ffd6-5f90-5c8a-9f1f-f9d2936b8192 html  
7 Quoted in Phaedra Tretham, “Norcross Offers Support in Preserving Camden Site,” Courier Post, August 12, 
2016, http://www.phillytrib.com/news/support-continues-for-preservation-of-mlk-camden-home/article e593ffd6-
5f90-5c8a-9f1f-f9d2936b8192.html  

Bibliographical Investigation: MLK and 753 Walnut Street Final Report
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In  September  2016,  Congressman  Norcross  hosted  fellow  Congressman  and  civil  rights  leader 
John  Lewis  (D-GA)  in  Camden.    At  an  event  held  outside  the  property,  Congressman  Lewis 
asserted  that,  “The  history  of  the  civil  rights  movement  has  roots  right  here  in  South  Jersey.”  
“This house [753 Walnut St.],” he continued, “stands as a link to Dr. King’s life and legacy, and 
preserving it will affirm his rightful place in Camden’s history, and our country’s history…[and] 
can serve as a touchstone for generations to come as they learn about Dr. King and his deeds.”8   
New  Jersey  State  Senator  Tom  Kean  joined  the  calls  for  preservation,  issuing  a  statement  the 
following  day:  “It’s  been  suggested  that  Dr.  King’s  experiences  while  living  in  Camden  led  to 
his later involvement in the fight to end racial discrimination, segregation and poverty…Adding 
[753  Walnut]  to  the  state’s  historic  registry  will  prevent  it  from  being  demolished  and  make  it 
eligible for grants to help with its long term preservation.”9  Senator Kean co-sponsored a bill, 
New  Jersey  Senate  Concurrent  Resolution  126,  urging  the  Commissioner  of  the  New  Jersey 
Department of Environmental Protection and the HPO to place “the former Martin Luther King, 
Jr., residence…on the New Jersey Register of Historic Places.”  The resolution passed the Senate 
on November 14, and the Assembly on November 21, 2016, both unanimously.   
In  the  time  between  the  resolution’s  introduction  and  passage,  the  Camden  City  Historic 
Preservation Commission designated 753 Walnut Street a historic property on October 27, 2016, 
and  the  Cooper’s  Ferry  Partnership,  a  city  nonprofit,  approached  Ms.  Jeanette  Lily  M.  Hunt 
about  the  viability  of  their  acquiring  the  property  and  acting  as  custodian,  pending  decisions 
about preservation and repair (final sale of the property to Cooper’s Ferry Partnership, however, 
was  never  completed).  The  City  of  Camden  offered  to  donate  an  adjacent  lot.  The  Rutgers 
University-Camden  Law  School  organized  a  nonprofit  for  the  combined  property,  and  the 
Camden  County  Branch  of  the  NAACP  expressed  interest  in  developing  a  museum  and  office 
space at the location.   
That  same  fall,  the  HPO  contacted  colleges  and  universities  within  the  state  higher  education 
system to solicit proposals to independently review and evaluate existing documentation, expand 
research  efforts,  and  assess  the  historical  significance  of  753  Walnut  Street  in  relation  to 
Criterion  B  of  the  National  Register  Bulletin:  How  to  Apply  the  National  Register  Criteria  for 
Evaluation
,  U.S.  Department  of  Interior,  National  Parks  Service.  Stockton  University 
subsequently submitted its proposal. 
Central Questions for Assessment of Criterion B:
Several considerations guide National Register eligibility determination for a property associated 
with an individual under Criterion B.: 
8 “Civil Rights Icon . . . Visits Camden for Important Community Events,” Donald Norcross News and Media 
Center Press Release, September 19, 2016, https://norcross house.gov/media-center/press-releases/civil-rights-icon-
congressman-john-lewis-visits-camden-important   
9 “Kean Urges Preservation of Camden House Where Dr. King Lived,” SenateNJ.com, September 20, 2016, 
http://www.senatenj.com/index.php/tomkean/kean-urges-preservation-of-camden-home-where-martin-luther-king-
jr-lived/29117  

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1. Consideration is generally restricted to those properties that illustrate (rather than
commemorate) a person’s important achievements.
2. Eligible properties are usually those associated with a person’s productive life, reflecting
the time period when he or she achieved significance. Properties that pre- or post-date an
individual’s significant accomplishments are usually not eligible.
3. The individual’s association with the property must be documented by accepted methods
of historical or archeological research, including written and oral history.  Speculative
associations are not acceptable.
4.  The best representatives are usually properties associated with the person’s adult or 
productive life. Properties associated with an individual’s formative or later years may 
also qualify if it can be demonstrated that the person’s activities during this period were 
historically significant or if no properties from the person’s productive years survive. 
Length of association is an important factor when assessing several properties with 
similar associations.10 
In  order  to  meet  the  above  guidelines,  753  Walnut  Street  must  be  deemed  formative  to  Martin 
Luther  King,  Jr.’s  life,  either  in  terms  of  the  development  of  his  theology,  philosophy,  or 
leadership qualities, or to his subsequent civil rights activism.  There must be also, however, first 
and foremost, a documented physical affiliation.  Did King spend time at 753 Walnut Street as 
has been alleged?  If so, for how long and can this time be documented? As potential residency is 
at the core of this study, this is where research for this report began.  
10 National Register Bulletin 15, “How to Apply the National Register Criteria for Evaluation,” National Park 
Service, U.S. Department of Interior, 2002, https://www.nps.gov/nr/publications/bulletins/nrb15/  

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Section 1: Methodology
Phase 1-­‐Literature Review:
Stockton’s biographical investigation about King’s residency patterns between 1948 and 1951, 
his years as a student at Crozer Theological Seminary, occurred in three phases.  The first phase 
was a review of published autobiographical and biographical materials, including all primary 
materials already collected by the HPO, for information pertaining to any time Martin Luther 
King, Jr. may have spent in Camden, New Jersey. Although past researchers have mined these 
resources, it was the natural starting point for this project, as such work was necessary not only 
to establish the existence of any past references to the city, and to 753 Walnut Street specifically, 
but also to ascertain whether or not King spent substantial time elsewhere during the same years.  
In addition to published materials, Stockton graduate students were tasked with reviewing 
available theses and doctoral dissertations for information about the same details.   
Hundreds of books, articles, theses, and dissertations have been written about the life and legacy 
of Martin Luther King, Jr. For the purposes of this analysis, only materials that specifically 
included information about his schooling, his early relationship to Walter McCall, and, ideally, 
time spent at Crozer Theological Seminary, were considered in depth. A list of sources consulted 
appears in the bibliography of this report, but to summarize the scope of research here, the list 
below aggregates the consulted published sources containing specific references to, or 
substantive treatment of, the years in question: 
Books:  
38 
Newspaper Articles:   
24 
Scholarly Articles: 
 

Theses and Dissertations: 

Published Primary Sources/Collections: 

Unfortunately, very few of these materials reference the incident in Maple Shade, New Jersey 
(less than fifteen percent of all published sources consulted).  Searches of both Project Muse and 
JSTOR, the two largest digital databases for published periodicals, yielded even fewer results.  
Keyword searches associating “Martin Luther King” with “Maple Shade” resulted in 16 listings, 
but none were actually germane to the topic at hand; changing the latter keyword to “Camden” 
yielded many more possible citations, 382 in JSTOR and another 32 in Project Muse, but only 
one—Clayborne Carson’s 1997 article “Martin Luther King, Jr.: The Crozer Seminary Years,” 
published in the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, proved relevant. 
Many more published sources note King’s close friendship with Walter McCall, but they do not 
associate that friendship with the Hunt family, the owners of 753 Walnut Street between 1948 
and 1951, nor do they make specific allusion to Camden, New Jersey, including quality or 
quantity of time King might have spent in the region.  No published books or scholarly articles 
specifically mention the address of 753 Walnut Street, or make reference to that property.  

Bibliographical Investigation: MLK and 753 Walnut Street Final Report
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Phase 2—Local Archival Research:
The second phase of this project included a thorough review of records related to residency 
available in New Jersey repositories.  These included the 1940 Federal Census, the most recent 
decennial census currently available.  Information was cross-referenced with the Polk’s Camden 
City Directory
 for 1940, 1943, and 1947, as well as tax assessor’s property report cards 
(Treasury Department records are also available in Trenton).  Property Report Cards for both 753 
Walnut Street and 755 Walnut Street, as well as a reproduction of the 1950 Sanborn map of the 
700 block of Walnut, are included in this report as Appendix A. 11  The goal was to reconstruct a 
street-level residency scheme of property owners and tenants. 
The Polk’s Camden City Directory for 1940 lists the occupant of 753 Walnut as William Riggs, 
an African-American cement finisher, but the 1940 federal census records Riggs as living at 707 
Sycamore  Street.  Likewise,  the  same  directory  lists  Benjamin  Hunt,  who  owned  753  Walnut 
during  King’s  purported  stay  in  Camden,  as  a  resident  of  628  Cherry  Street.  The  conflicting 
directory  and  census  reports  make  it  unclear  who  actually  owned  753  Walnut  Street  in  1940, 
despite  the  listings  by  street  in  the  back  of  the  directory  recording  William  Riggs  as  the 
occupant.  What  is  much  clearer,  based  on  the  1940  federal  census,  is  that  the  700  block  of 
Walnut  Street  was  situated  in  what  had  already  become  a  predominantly  African-American 
neighborhood.    Of  the  319  addresses  for  which  ethnicity  of  the  occupants  was  listed  in  this 
neighborhood, 245 were African Americans, and only 74 were recorded as Caucasian. 
Confusion  over  ownership  of  753  Walnut  Street  persists  in  the  1943  edition  of  Polk’s  Camden 
City Directory
. The main alphabetical portion of the volume records Benjamin Hunt residing at 
918  S.  8th  Street,  but  in  the  cross-reference  street  listing,  Hunt  is  shown  as  the  owner  of  753 
Walnut  Street.    This  suggests  that  the  directory  publisher  compiled  the  cross-referenced  street 
listings  at  a  point  in  time  later  than  the  main  alphabetical  listing,  but  no  earlier  than  spring  of 
1945, as this is when the Camden County Deed Book records the sale of the property from Sarah 
A. McCollum to Benjamin Hunt.12
Hunt also appears as the owner of 753 Walnut Street in Polk’s 1947 Camden City Directory, the 
last  directory  published  for  the  city.13  The  appended  table  of  the  findings  for  the  700  block  of 
11 Admittedly, available Individual Property Records Cards date from 1958-59, or slightly later than the focus of this 
study.  In 2007, Camden relocated the city engineer’s office out of City Hall to the former armory, which 
also housed the offices of the Department of Public Works.  The city engineer’s records were put in storage within 
the former armory where they remain, although the administrative office has since been moved back to City Hall in 
2010. The project team consulted with Dr. Edward Williams, director of city planning, who confirmed that these 
materials contained no pertinent information regarding the 700 block of Walnut Street. 
12 Sale of the property from Sarah A. McCollum to Benjamin Hunt is recorded in the Camden County Deed Book 
1016:208, April 18, 1945. 
13 A review of 1958-59 Individual Property Record Cards in the City of Camden Tax Assessor’s Office for the 
houses on both sides of the street, from no. 740 through no. 761, identified only a single property owner remaining 
in those houses when compared to the owners and occupants recorded in the 1940 federal census or in the 1947 
Polk’s Camden City Directory within the range of properties consulted. That person is Edgar Starling, who was 14 
years of age in the 1940 federal census. It appears Mr. Starling, who would be 90 or 91 years of age in 2017, still 
resides in Camden, New Jersey, at 415 Carl Miller Boulevard. Based on property tax records, Marcella Starling 

Bibliographical Investigation: MLK and 753 Walnut Street Final Report
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Walnut  Street  based  on  the  1940  federal  decennial  census,  the  1947  Polk’s  Camden  City 
Directory
,  and  the  1958-59  individual  property  record  cards  provide  a  complete  accounting  of 
the  research  conducted.  A  residency  profile  for  the  block  drawn  from  information  in  both  the 
1940 census with Polk’s 1947 city directory is attached as Appendix B. 
Researchers  also  examined  available  individual  property  record  cards  (IPRC)  for  more  details 
about  the  structure  in  question  and  its  potential  occupants.  Many  IPRCs  at  the  Camden  Tax 
Assessor’s Office from the 1958-59 photo reassessment effort, however, lacked owner’s names 
as  occupants  were  either  not  home  or  refused  access  to  the  assessor’s  surrogate  (a  contract 
employee).  This appears to have been what happened at 753 Walnut Street, which includes the 
notation “no admittance” along the top of the entry; the adjacent property, 755 Walnut Street, is 
marked  “NH”  along  with  two  days,  presumably  indicating  that,  on  two  separate  occasions,  no 
one was home.  Consequently, this collection did not prove to be the rich source of information 
initially anticipated.14 
Other work undertaken in this phase of the research included attempts to find tax ratable lists or 
tax ratable duplicates for the year 1950. Based on email communications with Ellen Callahan of 
the New Jersey State Archives, the Camden Tax Collector’s Office is required to retain extended 
tax duplicates as permanent records, but personnel in that office stated that extant records do not 
go back that far in time. Likewise, tax lists are permanent records in the Camden County Board 
of Taxation, but again, personnel in that office indicated that their records do not extend back to 
1950. Attempts to access the Camden Engineering Department records likewise proved fruitless; 
it  was  rumored  that  many  records  were  discarded  when  the  department  moved  from  Camden 
City  Hall  to  the  Public  Works  Department  building,  formerly  the  Battery  B  National  Guard 
Armory on Wright Avenue. In a subsequent discussion held with Dr. Edward Williams, Director 
of Planning and Development, concerning the holdings of the Camden Engineering Department, 
Dr.  Williams  stated  that  the  department,  which  has  now  moved  back  to  city  hall,  has  retained 
most  of  their  records,  but  he  did  not  believe  the  engineering  department  files  would  yield  any 
usable information for the research into the 700 block of Walnut Street. 
This phase of the research process also included a search of digital newspaper repositories, 
including Newspapers.com, Genealogybank.com, Proquest, and Newsbank, in an effort to 
compile any references to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s activities during the years in question.  The 
following sources, supplemented by events chronicles in Carson, et al.’s multi-volume edition of 
The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr., aided in the reconstruction of King’s movements between 
1948 and 1951: 
• Atlanta Journal Constitution
• Chester Times
• The Philadelphia Inquirer
• Pittsburgh Courier
• Courier-Post
owns the house at 415. The property at 747 Walnut remains in the family with a D. Starling and wife owning the 
house and living there. 
14 Individual Property Record Cards, 753 Walnut Street and 755 Walnut Street, Camden, New Jersey, Camden Tax 
Assessor’s Office, 1958-59.

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Notifications included announcements of King’s sermons, public speaking events, and family 
celebrations, and demonstrate persuasively that King was engaged in a variety of activities in 
Chester, Pennsylvania during each Crozer school term, and working in the south during summer 
breaks. The appended fully cited chronology provides insights into King’s activities during the 
targeted years of this documentation project (see Appendix C).  
Finally, this phase also endeavored to locate any judicial records related to the June 12, 1950 
incident of alleged discrimination prosecuted at the Burlington County Court House and among 
the New Jersey Superior Court holdings. Unfortunately, no extant files were located.  
Phase 3—Oral History/Email Interviews:
In addition to the tax records reviewed above, this project endeavored to identify potential oral 
history subjects through a variety of methods; researchers also re-examined existing oral 
histories relevant to this project.  The goals of this phase were to reach a definitive conclusion 
about the times, lengths, and purposes of King’s potential time in Camden.  Ideally, such 
witnesses would be able to corroborate recollections with additional documentation (such as 
personal letters, photographs, etc.).  In some cases, where those living at the time were 
unavailable or no longer living, the team endeavored to locate descendants who might still retain 
memories of relevant documentation. Transcripts of all interviews appear in Appendix D
Existing interviews used for this study included: 
Donald “Ducky” Births Interview by Patrick Duff. Personal Interview conducted in 
Philadelphia, PA, June 16, 2016. Excerpted and transcribed by John O’Hara, June 22, 2017. 
Jeannette Lily M. Hunt Interview with Patrick Duff.  Personal Interview conducted in 
Camden, NJ, January 2015. Excerpted and transcribed by John O’Hara, June 21, 2017. 
Walter McCall Interview with Herbert Holmes. The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial 
Center Oral History Project conducted in Atlanta, GA, 1970.   
Additional interviews, or re-interviews, were conducted with: 
James Beshai Email interview with John O’Hara. Stockton Biographical Investigation 
Project, New Jersey Historic Preservation Office. Conducted from Galloway, New Jersey, 
October 24, 2017. 
Patrick Duff Interview with Michelle Craig McDonald and John O’Hara, Stockton 
Biographical Investigation Project, New Jersey Historic Preservation Office. Conducted in 
Camden, New Jersey, October 26, 2017. 
Jeannette Lily M. Hunt Interview with Michelle Craig McDonald and John O’Hara, Stockton 
Biographical Investigation Project, New Jersey Historic Preservation Office. Conducted in 
Camden, New Jersey, October 26, 2017. 
Thelma Lowery Interview with Patrick Duff. Personal Interview conducted in Camden, NJ, 
December 1, 2017. 

Phone Number Redacted pursuant to N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1, N.J.S.A. 47:1A-9.b, and an expectation of privacy. 
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Janet (and Julius) Milton Email interview with John O’Hara, Stockton Biographical 
Investigation Project, New Jersey Historic Preservation Office. Conducted from Galloway, 
New Jersey, October 26, 2017. 
Finally, the research team endeavored to contact additional and institutions recommended by the 
HPO, but were unable to do so for the reasons summarized below: 
Cavalry Baptist Church: cavalrybaptistchester.org: email bounced back as undeliverable – 
address from webpage no longer exists.  The telephone number provided, 610-874-6717, led 
to a recorded message that the line is not in service.  The church’s webpage, includes the 
name of Richard Cotton, an associate pastor, and the phone number 856-781-2082.  No one 
answered the line during repeated attempts; a detailed message was left on October 2, 2017, 
but the call was not returned. 
Friendship Baptist Church: Phone number provided by the HPO was not in 
service.  Friendship Baptist has a Facebook page, but no contact numbers or email 
addresses.  Attempts to contact the church via their Facebook listing were not returned. 
Reginald Hilton, Jr.: The research team was able to locate a telephone number associated 
with the 742 address 
, and called, leaving a message.  Mr. Hilton returned the 
call the same day, but was not willing to be interviewed for the project, nor could he provide 
information about life in Camden between 1945-50 (he responded that he “lived in Maryland 
anyway” at that time in question). 
Maurice C. Potter: Repeated calls to the phone number provided, and a detailed voice mail 
left on October 2, 2017, were not returned.  
William Starling: contact information was not provided for this prospect, and both the first 
and last names are relatively common, with no indicative middle initial.  The team was able 
to locate a William Starling related to the address 747 Walnut Street in Camden, but he was 
deceased (b. 20 Aug 1927, d. July 1979) according to the Social Security Death Index.  An 
obituary was found on Newspapers.com. 
Barbara Davis: A phone number for Barbara Elizabeth Davis associated with Hiram Davis 
was located on familytreenow.com 
, but this number was not in 
service.  Further attempts to find information proved difficult because of the problem of 
disambiguating such a common name. 
Finally, the research team reached out to Congressman John Lewis’ office, as it had been 
suggested by the HPO that he might facilitate contact with Christine Farris King, Martin Luther 
King, Jr.’s sister.  A copy of that email also appears as part of Appendix D.  While Lewis’ 
Chief-of-Staff did respond to our request, he was reticent to provide the contact information 
requested, and emphasized that Ms. King was in her 90s and unlikely to recall specific details 
about the dates in question. 

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Section 2: The Context of Camden
MICHELLE  MCDONALD:    “I’ve  got  a  few  more  questions….  you’ve  described 
the  house,  could  you  describe  the  neighborhood  [in  Camden]?    What  was  it 
like?” 

JEANETTE LILY M. HUNT: “It was very friendly, it was very open.  You didn’t 
have  to  lock  your  doors  like  you  do  now.  I  could  put  the  baby  in  the  baby 
carriage, go to the store; I didn’t worry about locking no doors.  And everybody 
knew everybody.  And it was quiet.  It was like a family, it was just nice.”15 

Modern  accounts  of  Camden,  New  Jersey,  overwhelmingly  focus  on  the  city’s  contemporary 
problems.    Indeed,  for  several  years  running,  the  city  has  held  the  dubious  honor  of  being 
designated “the most dangerous place in New Jersey” because of its violent crime statistics, and 
citizens also struggle from homelessness, drug addiction, and dwindling resources.16  But some 
of Camden’s older residents can still recall a different time, when local industry boomed, ethnic 
neighborhoods flourished, and social and economic growth seemed to be the city’s unassailable 
destiny. 
It took some time for Camden to come into its own.  Although incorporated in 1828, and named 
county  seat  in  1848,  four  years  after  Camden  County  separated  from  Gloucester  County,  the 
town across the Delaware River remained within the economic orbit of Philadelphia well into the 
nineteenth century.  Soon after the Civil War, however, some important industrial ventures, most 
notably  Campbell’s  Soup,  the  New  York  Ship  Company,  and  the  Victor  Talking  Machine 
Company  (later  becoming  RCA  Victor),  as  well  as  a  host  of  small  manufacturing  businesses, 
offered  employment  opportunities  that  prompted  migration  to the  region  and  swelled  the  city’s 
population.17 
By  1920,  Camden’s  population  had  grown  to  more  than  100,000,  making  it  one  of  the  sixty 
largest cities in the nation. Among the most visible emblems of this growth was the opening of a 
new bridge connecting Camden to Philadelphia in 1926.  The $40 million dollar project, renamed 
the  Benjamin  Franklin  Bridge  in  1954,  was  the  largest  single-span  bridge  in  the  world  at  the 
time, and a fitting tribute to a city on the rise. “To Southern New Jersey, the bridge means much 
more  in  the  way  of  development,”  touted  one  New  York  Times  article.    It  was,  in  all  senses—
from  height  and  width,  to  traffic-carrying  potential  and  expense—a  material  marker  of  the 
15 Jeannette Lily M. Hunt Interview with Michelle Craig McDonald and John O’Hara. Stockton Biographical 
Investigation Project, New Jersey Historic Preservation Office. Conducted in Camden, New Jersey, October 26, 
2017. 
16  Nearly 1 out of every 50 residents has experienced a violent crime.  See: “The Most Dangerous Places in New 
Jersey” (posted May 5, 2017, NJ.com): 
http://photos nj.com/8001122/gallery/the most dangerous places in nj/index html  
17 One 1917 report listed 365 industries that, cumulatively, employed 51,000 workers. Camden Courier, Greater 
Camden Special Collections, 1909, 1917 cited in Howard Gillette, Camden After the Fall: Decline and Renewal of a 
Post-Industrial City
 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 2005), pp. 18-19. 

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Camden’s  coming  of  age.  “A  Camdenite  who  walks  to  work  in  Philadelphia,  will  be  rewarded 
with  a  magnificent  panorama  of  the  two  cities,”  the  article  continued,  casting  the  city  as  a 
gateway between Pennsylvania and New Jersey. “Camdenites are not blind to the advantages that 
the new bridge will bring. ‘Look at Brooklyn, they say, ‘if you wish to forecast the future growth 
of our city.”18 
And  several  urban  development  projects  did  follow,  including  hotels,  movie  theatres,  and 
department stores.  Although progress slowed during the Great Depression of the 1930s, as it did 
across  the  nation,  it  returned—albeit  more  slowly  in  some  sectors—during  World  War  II.  
Evidence  of  the  city’s  economic  resilience,  as  historian  Howard  Gillette  notes  in  his  seminal 
study  Camden  Before  the  Fall:  Decline  and  Renewal  of  a  Post-Industrial  City,  can  be  charted 
through  city  directories,  which  chronicle  that  “in  sixteen  tumultuous  years,  encompassing  not 
just  a  depression  but  a  world  war,  more  than  half  of  the  properties  remained  in  the  same 
hands.”19 
These property-holding hands were, however, far from homogenous.  Camden’s rise in the early 
twentieth  century  attracted  a  broad  range  of  migrants,  both  from  within  the  nation  and  from 
abroad.  The  result  was  a  series  of  vibrant,  and  close-knit,  ethnic  communities.    Homes  and 
personal  businesses  often  clustered  near  places  of  worship,  notable  local  businesses,  and  other 
community  centers,  resulting  in  distinct  neighborhood  identities  that  were  overwhelmingly 
Italian, Irish, Jewish, German, Puerto Rican or eastern European in their makeup, as well as the 
social and cultural institutions and traditions that governed daily life.20   
The city’s African American neighborhoods had formed even earlier, in the 1830s in the case of 
Fettersville,  and  the  1840s,  for  the  Centerville  section  of  town.    Later  still,  the  Bergen  Square 
district,  located  north  and  west  of  Centerville—and  the  site  of  753  Walnut  Street,  the  building 
under consideration—created yet another nexus for the city’s African American population. 
While these residential patterns created a sense of belonging and networks of social stability that 
helped  some  residents  navigate  the  economically  tumultuous  decades  of  the  1930s  and  1940s, 
they  also  reinforced  distinctions  and  divisions  that  contributed  to  a  tenacious  segregation  of 
communities  along  racial  and  ethnic  lines  well  north  of  the  Mason-Dixon  Line.  Long-time 
Camden  resident  Ms.  Jeanette  Lily  M.  Hunt,  interviewed  for  this  project  in  October  2017, 
succinctly illustrates this impact when she recounted her walk to school in the morning: 
When I was a little girl, I had to walk past that school and go to Bergen School, 
that’s  another  school  that’s  built  in  a  spot  right  there…there  at  4th  and  Mt. 
Vernon.  When I finished Bergen School I still had to walk, past Fetter[s] school, 
18 “Camden Bridge Ready for Work,” New York Times (June 27, 1926).  Less than a year later, the bridge had 
proven so popular, that some reports estimated that “the bridge would pay for itself in less than ten years,” and that 
real estate values had already begun climbing.  See, “Camden Bridge Traffic,” New York Times (May 7, 1927). 
19 Howard Gillette, Camden Before the Fall: Decline and Renewal in a Post-Industrial City (Philadelphia: 
University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006), p. 23. 
20 Ibid., pp. 25-30. 

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and when you’re young you don’t pay that no mind.  You know, all I just knew I 
had to go to where I was supposed to be.  Then I had to go to Whittier School till 
7th grade, and when I finished Whittier School, I had to walk past and go to Hatch, 
and then I left Hatch and went to Camden High.21   
 
In  1941,  Ulysses  Wiggins,  a  Camden-based  African-American  doctor  of  notable  local 
standing,  founded  the  city’s  NAACP  chapter,  later  reconstituted  as  the  Camden  County 
Branch.22    Six  years  later,  New  Jersey  enacted  legislation  to  ban  racial  discrimination  in  the 
state’s schools.23 Such activities put the state in the vanguard of social change that the rest of 
the  nation  would  only  catch  up  to  in  the  mid-1950s.  Indeed,  when  other  states  began  the 
difficult process of desegregation, the NAACP often pointed to New Jersey as a model.  
 
This is the Camden that Walter McCall and Martin Luther King, Jr. would have experienced had 
they visited when they attended Crozier Theological Seminary in nearby Chester, Pennsylvania. 
King  began  his  studies  there  at  the  age  of  19  in  the  fall  of  1948,  and  McCall  joined  him  one 
semester  later.  The  two  young  men  already  knew  each  other  well,  having  first  met  four  years 
prior  when  both  were  enrolled  as  freshman  at  Morehouse  College  in  Atlanta,  Georgia.  McCall 
was five years older than the young King, whom he referred to as “Mike,” and considered one of 
his  closest  friends.  “We  remained  exceedingly  close  through  college  and  seminary,”  he  later 
recalled  in  an  interview  for  the  Martin  Luther  King,  Jr.  Memorial  Center  in  1970,  “of  course, 
when he went to Boston, and I went to Fort Valley, our affairs began to widen.  But we remained 
friends throughout.”24 
 
The friendship between these two students is central to understanding any potential connections 
between King and 753 Walnut Street.  According to Jeanette Hunt, quoted above, King 
frequently visited the home owned by her father-in-law, Benjamin Hunt, with Walter McCall 
during their time in seminary.  Born in 1931, Ms. Hunt was married to Benjamin Hunt’s son, 
Jethroe, in 1948.  Although she herself lived at the property for only two or three months after 
her marriage to Hunt’s son, she recalled some aspects of King’s purported visits there in an 
21 Jeannette Lily M. Hunt Interview, October 26, 2017, p. 11. 
22 Gillette, Camden Before the Fall, pp. 29-33 and Kathleen O’Brian, “Black History Month: Integrating New 
Jersey’s Schools,” Star Ledger (February 1, 2008). Wiggins also later played a role Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 
arrest and discrimination suit in nearby Maple Shade, New Jersey, the event affiliated with the property whose 
significance is explored in this application.  See also: “Ulysses Wiggins Eulogized,” The Crisis 73:5 (May 
1966): 260-63. 
 
23 Article 1.5 of the 1947 New Jersey state constitution specifically states: “No person shall be denied the enjoyment 
of any civil or military right, nor be discriminated against in the exercise of any civil or military right, nor be 
segregated in the militia or in the public schools, because of religious principles, race, color, ancestry or national 
origin.  The full constitution can be found online at: http://www.njleg.state nj.us/lawsconstitution/constitution.asp.  
24 Walter McCall Interview with Herbert Holmes. The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Center Oral History 
Project, Atlanta, GA, 1970.  The friendship between the two is well documented in several standard King 
biographies, including: David Garrow, Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Southern Christian 
Leadership Conference 
(New York: W. Morrow & Co., 1986), p. 36; Clayborne Carson, “Martin Luther King, Jr.: 
The Morehouse Years,” The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, No. 15 (Spring 1997): 121-22.  See also: 
chapter 2 in Clayborne Carson, The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. (New York: Warner Books, 1981). 

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14
interview with local Camden activist Patrick Duff in 2015, and again in interviews with 
Stockton’s research team in 2017. 
She also provided Duff, during her initial interview, with an article published in the Courier-
Post
 newspaper on January 16, 1981 that profiled her father-in-law, and in which he referred to 
Walter McCall as his cousin and King as “like one of the family.”  The two of them, her father-
in-law asserted, “lived in the back room upstairs off and on for two years when they were in 
school.”  Mr. Hunt also recalled elements of an event that happened in Maple Shade, New 
Jersey, in which McCall and King, along with others, were refused service as a restaurant.  Hunt 
insinuated it was because of their race.  “I don’t know if this is so,” he concluded, “but I always 
think that what happened that night may have started to change him into the leader he was.”25 
Jeannette Hunt’s recollections are bolstered by those of her sister-in-law, Thelma Lowery, one of 
Benjamin Hunt’s three daughters.  Thelma Lowery believes that she was “in the 8th or 9th grade” 
when her family moved into 753 Walnut Street.  She resided there until she was married.26  
Lowery primarily recalled seeing King at the property, rather than speaking with him directly. “It 
wasn’t so much talking we could do,” she suggested, “because it was an old time situation, you 
understand what I mean?”  When asked to clarify, she added, “You just don’t ask grown people’s 
business. You understand what I’m saying?” 
One of the central tasks of this report was to locate, if possible, evidence about King’s 
whereabouts between 1948 and 1951 that would demonstrate whether he lived at 753 Walnut 
Street, as members of the Hunt family have suggested, or that he visited the residence 
extensively during these years.  If verifiable, such information would complicate the standard 
narrative of King’s Crozer Seminary years that appears in most published accounts, which focus 
on his time on campus.  Instead, it might open up the possibility that King’s interactions in the 
region went well beyond Chester, Pennsylvania, and that events experienced in New Jersey 
might have contributed to his ultimate trajectory in civic activism.  
Documentation for these years is regrettably sparse, however.  Few records remain from King’s 
seminary years, and contemporary oral histories are, in some cases, more than five decades 
removed from the events in question, recount details learned second-hand, and even—at times—
do not align with other available forms of evidence.  What information is available about King’s 
residency patterns is summarized in the following two sections of the report. 
25  Eileen Stilwell, “City Man Housed Activist,” Courier-Post, January 16, 1981, p. 1B, 3B.  Jeanette Hunt made 
similar claims about the duration of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s occupancy of 753 Walnut Street. In her 2015 
interview with Patrick Duff, she indicated that King had lived at the property “the whole time he was at Crozer, 
that’s when he was at 753 Walnut.”  In 2017, for this research project, she likewise stated that: “Seminary is the 
reason why he [Walter McCall] came north.  And that’s the reason why he wound up at daddy’s house.  Rather than 
staying on campus, they stayed at daddy’s.  Or, you know, some time they may have had…did you [speaking to 
Duff] search that they did have also have a room on campus?”  In this instance, Patrick Duff corrected her, “Oh, 
they had a room on campus,” and Ms. Hunt revised her statement to indicate that the students visited, rather than 
resided at, 753 Walnut Street.   See: Jeannette Lily M. Hunt Interview with Patrick Duff, Camden, NJ, January 2015. 
Excerpted and transcribed by John O’Hara, June 21, 2017, p. 5, and Jeannette Lily M. Hunt Interview with Michelle 
Craig McDonald and John O’Hara. Stockton Biographical Investigation Project, New Jersey Historic Preservation 
Office. Conducted in Camden, New Jersey, October 26, 2017, p. 7. 
26 Thelma Lowery Interview with Patrick Duff.  Personal Interview conducted in Camden, NJ, December 1, 2017.  

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Section 3: Establishing Residency
Although the purpose of this study is to explore Martin Luther King, Jr.’s potential connections 
to Camden, New Jersey, documentation about his activities in that location is sparse.  Potential 
visits were most likely informal opportunities to visit with friends on evenings or weekends; as a 
result, they were the kinds of interactions that are unlikely to leave definitive evidence. Instead, 
research  initially  focused  on  trying  to  establish  King’s  residency  and  travel  patterns  between 
September 13, 1948, and May 8, 1951.  If evidence could establish where King was, it could—
by extension—establish where he was not.  
King’s Residency at Crozer Theological Seminary, 1948-­‐51
King  enrolled  in  nine  trimester  terms  as  a  graduate  student  at  Crozer  Theological  Seminary  in 
Upland (Chester),  Pennsylvania.  He did not spend summers in the Delaware Valley, and  even 
short  breaks  between  terms  typically  found  him  in  Atlanta,  where  he  served  as  a  salaried 
minister/assistant  pastor  at  Ebenezer  Baptist  Church  from  1948  to  1954.    The  following 
chronology demonstrates the pattern of King’s consistent removal to Atlanta between semesters.  
Sources include King’s multi-volume published papers, as well as newspaper advertisements of 
speaking  events  or  public  appearances  published  in  the  Atlanta  Journal  Constitution,  Chester 
Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, 
the Pittsburgh Courier, and the Courier-Post: 
1948 
5 September 
MLK preaches at Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta, GA 
11-12 September
MLK spends weekend visiting sister, Christine, in New York City 
14 September
Crozer term 1 begins 
24 November
Crozer term 1 ends 
30 November
Crozer term 2 begins 
1949 
16 February 
Crozer term 2 ends 
20 February 
MLK delivers annual youth day sermon at Ebenezer 
22 February 
Crozer term 3 begins 
6-10 May
Crozer term 3 ends / Commencement ceremonies at Crozer 
12 June
MLK preaches at Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church, Atlanta, GA (morning), 
and Ebenezer (evening) 
13 September 
Crozer term 4 begins 
23 November 
Crozer term 4 ends 
29 November 
Crozer term 5 begins 
23 December 
MLK returns to Atlanta, spends Christmas and New Year’s Day holidays 
1950 
2 January 
MLK returns to Crozer 
15 February 
Crozer term 5 ends 
19 February 
MLK preaches at Ebenezer morning service 
21 February 
Crozer term 6 begins 
5-9 May
Crozer term 6 ends / Commencement ceremonies 

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10 May – 15 June 
MLK moves out of dorm and finishes course audits at University of 
Pennsylvania [encompasses date of Mary’s Place incident] 
16 June 
MLK departs for Atlanta 
12 September 
Crozer term 7 begins 
22 November 
Crozer term 7 ends 
28 November 
Crozer term 8 begins 
1951 
15 February 
Crozer term 8 ends 
18 February 
MLK preaches “Nothing in Particular” at Ebenezer 
20 February 
Crozer term 9 begins 
4-8 May
Crozer term 9 ends / Commencement ceremonies (MLK graduates) 
12 May
MLK preaches “The World Crisis & A Mother’s Responsibility” at 
Ebenezer27 
The  team  also  considered  the  possibility  that  King  did  not  reside  on  campus  as  a  student,  and 
thus might have spent time at 753 Walnut Street during the semester itself.  Crozer Theological 
Seminary  merged  with  Colgate  Rochester  Divinity  School  in  1969,  however,  and  student 
occupancy  records  were  not  preserved.    Team  members  corresponded  with  both  Dr.  Marvin 
McMickle,  current  President  of  Colgate  Rochester  Crozer  Divinity  School  (CRCDS),  and 
Thomas  McDade  Clay,  Director  of  Institutional  Advancement,  who  confirmed  that  no  records 
exist in CRCDS’s institutional archives pertaining to Crozer students’ occupancy of dormitories, 
payment of room and board fees, or of dormitory policies and procedures of any kind—such as 
sign-in or sign-out forms—that might have helped pinpoint King’s status as a resident student.28 
That  being  said,  the  fragmentary  documentation  that  does  survive  points  strongly  to  the 
conclusion that, despite the Hunts’ oral history to the contrary, King resided primary in Chester, 
Pennsylvania  throughout  his  years  at  seminary.    In  response  to  a  1947  letter  in  which  King 
inquired about the prospect of attending Crozer, for example, the seminary’s Registrar, Charles 
E. Batten, noted that students should decide early about graduate school, in part to deal with “the
problem of accommodations.” And later, in the same letter, he characterized campus life as one
of  shared  academic  and  communal  living  spaces:  “All  full  time  faculty  members  reside  on
27 Martin Luther King, Jr., Chronology, Summer 1948 through Summer 1951.  Timeline constructed by Paul W. 
Schopp for this report.  The full timeline appears as Appendix A. Both Martin Luther King, Jr. and his father, Martin 
Luther King, made a number of public appearances during the years in question. Speakers were not necessarily 
designated as Senior or Junior, however, in announcements of such talks, so other strategies were required. While 
not an exact science, Martin Luther King, Jr. was assumed if the speaker was identified as from Crozer or 
Chester.  His father was, at times, identified as “of Atlanta.”  Again, this was not an absolute measure, but decisions 
were based on patterns and frequency of occurrence.
28 Marvin McMickle and Thomas McDade Clay, email correspondence with John O’Hara, June 7, 2017. In sum, 
Thomas McDade Clay, Vice President of Institutional Advancement, informed the team that the institution retained 
no records of the types requested.  Further, Clay indicated that no records existed documenting the retention 
processes of such records over the years.  President Marvin McMickle followed up, on the same day that, to his 
“certain knowledge” no records existed related to Crozer Theological Seminary’s dormitory residents, occupants, 
policies or practices.  Copies of this correspondence appear in Appendix D of this report. 

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campus hence there is much opportunity for personal contact between students and professors.”29  
The implication is that Crozer’s campus culture encouraged faculty, like students, to live on site, 
creating opportunities for regular interactions both inside and outside the classroom.   
Allusions  to  a  campus  address  persist  through  King’s  later  years  in  seminary.  On  a  surviving 
fieldwork  questionnaire,  dated  September  13,  1950  and  now  in  the  collection  of  Stanford 
University’s  MLK  Research  and  Education  Institute,  for  example,  he  wrote  his  address  as 
“Dormitory Box 27” and also listed expenses, including $288.00 “Board” and $51.00 “Rent.”30  
He  again  named  Crozer  as  his  mailing  address  when  taking  the  Graduate  Record  Examination 
(GRE)  in  1951  before  enrolling  at  Boston  University  for  his  doctoral  work  in  Systematic 
Theology.31   
Additional  references  in  published  scholarship  about  King’s  life  likewise  support  the  position 
that  he  lived  on  campus  as  a  student.  In  Bearing  the  Cross,  for  example,  historian  David  J. 
Garrow notes King’s “positive impression on a young instructor with whom he studied, Kenneth 
L. Smith,  who  lived  on  the  same  dorm  floor  as  King.”32    And  in  his  autobiography,  King,  in
describing  his  efforts  to  combat  what  he  called  “the  typical  white  stereotype  of  the  Negro”
among a mostly white population of one hundred students at Crozer, makes specific reference to
his living quarters:
[F]or a while I was terribly conscious of trying to avoid identification with it.  If I were a
minute late to class, I was almost morbidly conscious of it, and sure that everyone else
noticed it. . . . I had a tendency to overdress, to keep my room spotless, my shoes
perfectly shined and my clothes immaculately pressed.33
This  reference  to  “my  room”  suggests  that  King  thought  fellow  students  would  see  and  judge 
him by tidiness of his dormitory space at the seminary. 
29 Charles E. Batten to Martin Luther King, Jr. [letter], October 29, 1947, in Clayborne Carson, Ralph Luker, and 
Penny A. Russel, eds., The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Vol. 1: Called to Serve, 1929-51, Berkeley: 
University of California Press, 1992. https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/king-papers/documents/charles-e-batten  
30 Field Work Questionnaire, Crozer Theological Seminary, completed by Martin Luther King, Jr., September 13, 
1950, Stanford MLK Research and Education Institute online, 
http://okra.stanford.edu/en/permalink/document500913-000.  Charles Batten was registrar at Crozer from 1938 to 
1948, librarian from 1943 to 1948, and dean from 1948 to 1953.  He subsequently served as minister of education at 
an Episcopal church in Winchester, Massachusetts in 1954, and as professor of Christian education at the Episcopal 
Theological School in Cambridge in 1956. 
31 Return Address Request, GRE Form [undated ephemera], The King Center Digital Archive, 
http://www.thekingcenter.org/archive/document/return-address-request  
32 David J. Garrow, Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference
NY: Harper Collins, 2004, p. 41. 
33 Martin Luther King, Jr., The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr., ed. Clayborne Carson, New York: 
IPM/Warner Books, 2001, ch. 3. https://swap.stanford.edu/20141218225829/http://mlk-
kpp01.stanford.edu/kingweb/publications/autobiography/ [emphasis added] 

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A May 20, 1951 letter housed at the King Institute at Stanford University from King’s mother, 
Alberta Williams King, to Charles E. Batten, a dean at Crozer, reinforces this resident status.  In 
it she writes Batten that, “M.L. wishes me to say to you that his address for the summer will be 
193  Boulevard  N.E.  [Atlanta],  and  to  have  any  mail  he  might  receive,  forwarded  here.”34    The 
same letter also relays a request on behalf of her son for the permanent address of his classmate, 
Jesse  Brown.    Brown  matriculated  at  Crozer  in  1950,  and  later  earned  his  Ph.D.  at  Duke 
University,  and  still  later  became  a  pastor  at  the  First  Baptist  Church  in  Topeka,  Kansas.    In 
2002, he was the subject of a profile in the Topeka Capitol Journal, in which he reminisces about 
finding  “no  shortage  of  challenging  conversations  around  his  dormitory  [at  Crozer],”  in  part 
because of “a student who lived across the hall from him…Martin Luther King, Jr.”  Brown, a 
white  Pennsylvanian,  shares  his  memories  of  doing  civil  rights  work  in  Harlem  between  1945 
and  1953,  and  notes  King  was  impressed  by  the  fact  that  “some  white  guy  would  spend  his 
summers” in that fashion.  Brown also exhibits familiarity with King’s habits, noting that King 
would  “read  late  into  the  night—sometimes  all  night.”35  Another  classmate,  Dupree  Jordan, 
offered  similar  testimony  in  an  interview  with  historian  David  Garrow.    Jordan  was  “a  white 
Georgian who roomed across the hall from King,” according to Garrow, who described King as 
“very studious; he spent a lot more time on his lesson assignments than most of us did.”36  Thus, 
two classmates independently verify King’s resident status during his time in seminary.   
 
Garrow  documents  another  anecdote  from  fellow  students  related  to  dormitory  life  that  offers 
evidence  of  the  racial  tension  and  violence  King  experienced  during  these  school  years. 
Specifically,  he  described  a  confrontation  between  King  and  a  fellow  “southern  white  student, 
Lucius Z. Hall, Jr.” Hall, Garrow recounts: 
 
…had been victimized in a dorm room prank, blamed King for the incident, and 
threatened him with a pistol.  Hall and King had previously ‘had some little clashes,’ 
Marcus Wood, an older black student, later recalled, but on this occasion Hall burst into 
King’s room
, gun in hand.  ‘I was in the room,’ Wood explained.  ‘I saw the gun,’ and 
‘King was scared.’  Wood intervened and tried to calm Hall down.  ‘I got him out of the 
room,’ and back to his own.  King declined to bring any charges, and no disciplinary 
action was taken against Hall, who left Crozer at the end of the academic year.37  
34 Alberta Williams King to Charles E. Batten [Letter], May 10, 1951, in Carson et al., ibid
https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/king-papers/documents/alberta-williams-king-charles-e-batten  
 
35 Phil Anderson, “Remembering the Dream: A Pastor Shares Memories of His Experiences with Martin Luther King, 
Jr.,” The Topeka Capitol Journal, January 21, 2002, http://cjonline.com/stories/012102/com mlk.shtml#.WUgd32jytPY  
 
36 Dupree Jordan Interview with David Garrow, January 14, 1984 (Atlanta, GA), qtd. in David Garrow, “The 
Intellectual Development of Martin Luther King, Jr.: Influences and Commentary,” Union Seminary Quarterly 
Review
 40 (January 1986): 5-20. http://www.davidgarrow.com/File/DJG%201986%20USQRMLK.pdf  
 
37 David J. Garrow, Bearing the Cross, p. 40.  For other accounts of this incident, see Frederick L. Downing, To See 
the Promised Land: The Faith Pilgrimage of Martin Luther King, Jr.
 (Macon, GA: Mercer University Press 1986), 
pp. 152-54.  See also, Stephen B. Oates, Let the Trumpet Sound: The Life of Martin Luther King, Jr. (New York: 
New American Library, 1983), p. 30.  Oates’ account: “Hall was in a ‘tirade, shouting at King, hurling maledictions 
at him,’ accusing King of ransacking his room. Then Hall ‘drew a pistol, and threatened to shoot King dead,’ but 
King denied having anything to do with the room raid. Afterwards, King brought the matter before the student 
government, but, interestingly, he refused to press charges. Hall did publically [sic] admit that he was wrong, and 
apologized to King.”   

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James Beshai, another Crozer student, whose course of study overlapped with King and McCall 
in their final year, also recounted the incident, although he preferred not to identify the student 
who incited the violence by name: “I remember the confrontation and the aftermath. I know the 
white southern student, but I do not want to say his name, since his name was not mentioned in 
what I read about it. But, it was not beyond the subtle discrimination that prevailed in those days. 
We all had dinner together, and spoke decently, but some may have harbored prejudicial remarks 
such as this student.” 38 
This incident occurred in the spring of 1950.  King noted his election as class president in May 
1950  was  helped  by  general  sympathy  for  him  on  campus  in  the  wake  of  the  dormitory 
confrontation.39 This event places King in a campus dorm residence in the time prior to the June 
event in Maple Shade, New Jersey, and also suggests that the Mary’s Place incident was not the 
only,  or  first,  violent  racial  conflict  King  experienced  during  his  Crozer  years.    In  fact,  King 
experienced  discrimination  shortly  after  arriving  at  Crozer,  when  he  was  refused  service  in  a 
Philadelphia  restaurant  called  Stouffer’s.    After  complaining,  he  and  his  companion,  DuPree 
Jordan,  were  finally  served  their  meals,  only  to  find  that  sand  had  been  mixed  in  with  their 
food.40    Such  contemporary  incidents  of  racial  discrimination  are  important  to  the  HPO’s 
assessment of the singularity and importance of the Maple Shade incident in King’s experience.  
Additional available oral history testimony also places McCall and King on campus.  In his 1970 
interview,  for  example,  McCall  recounts  late  nights  of  discussions,  cards,  and  billiards,  noting 
that “in seminary we played pool sometimes until 3 o’clock in the morning.”41  Beshai offered 
more details about their campus life: 
We lived in the same Crozer Dormitory on the second floor. I had room 201 and I 
believe he [King] had room 203 or 211 I am not sure.  I believe Walter McCall 
was on the same side, but MLK, Jr. was on the opposite side. 
Dormitory placements showed no discrimination by color or race. I was a foreign 
student along with one Chinese and one Japanese. There were more white than 
black students, but all of us enjoyed a very friendly atmosphere.42  
38 James Beshai Email Interview with John O’Hara. Stockton Biographical Investigation Project, New Jersey 
Historic Preservation Office. Conducted from Galloway, New Jersey, October 24, 2017, p. 4.  Of course, given the 
notations in footnote 36, the student involved in the altercation had already been publically named. 
39 Rebecca Karol, “Mary’s Café, Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Forgotten Beginnings of a Civil Rights Leader,” 
unpublished student paper from Rowan University, n.d., 14.  
40 Garrow, Bearing the Cross, p. 40. 
41 Walter McCall interview, 1970. 
42 James Beshai Email Interview, October 24, 2017. 

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Published secondary source material buttresses the admittedly fragmentary primary evidence that 
survives.    Editor  Clayborne  Carson,  in  the  introduction  to  the  published  The  Papers  of  Martin 
Luther King, Jr., Volume 1
, suggests that “Nearly all students lived in private dormitory rooms 
on  campus,  situated  on  a  bucolic  hillside…[with]  most  of  their  daily  needs…satisfied  by  the 
seminary’s  facilities,  which  included  a  library,  dining  rooms,  tennis  courts,  and  other 
amenities.”43   
In addition to his campus activities, several published sources describe King’s social interactions 
in  the  seminary’s  surrounding  community  of  Chester,  Pennsylvania.  Lewis  Baldwin,  author  of 
Behind the Public Veil: The Humanness of Martin Luther King, Jr., argues that King benefitted 
from  an  extensive  support  network  within  Chester’s  African-American  community,  one  strong 
and deep enough to be considered an “extended family.”  
King himself alludes to time spent in Chester in a letter to his mother, written in 1948 during his 
first term: “I never go anywhere much but in these books,” he wrote.  He also notes “I eat dinner 
at  the  Barbours  quite  often,”  referring  to  J.  Pius  Barbour,  a  family  friend  and  Morehouse 
graduate  who  became  Pastor  at  Calvary  Baptist  Church.    Barbour  had  been  the  first  African 
American student to attend Crozer Theological Seminary, and, after graduation, continued to live 
in  the  area.44    Kirk  Byron  Jones,  pastor  of  Calvary  Baptist  Church  subsequent  to  Barbour, 
prepared an article about Barbour that describes King’s relationship to the family in even more 
intimate terms.  His recollections appeared in the Delaware County Daily Times on January 16, 
1989: 
When  Martin  Luther  King  Jr.  arrived  in  Chester  in  the  fall  of  1948  to  attend 
Crozer  Seminary,  one  of  his  father’s  “preacher  friends”  was  waiting  for  him. 
Barbour,  at  the  request  of  Martin  Luther  King  Sr.,  a  fellow  Morehouse  College 
graduate, was to provide a home away from home, “watch-care,” for the younger 
King.  By  all  accounts,  Barbour  did  just  that.  During  his  stellar  three-year 
seminary career, King was a frequent guest in the Barbour home, and he actively 
participated in Calvary Baptist Church as a Sunday School teacher, preaching on 
occasion.  
…If  the  Barbour  parsonage  was  King’s  home  away  from  home,  J.  Pius  Barbour 
was King’s “father away from father.”45 
Similarly,  for  “Remembering  a  Legend:  Chester  Native  Recalls  Dinners  with  Martin  Luther 
King,  Jr.,”  John  Lott  interviewed  resident  Mercedes  Walker  Hutchins,  who  recalls  King  as  a 
“frequent dinner guest” of her grandfather, Lewis M. Hunt, one of the first African Americans to 
43 Carson, et al., The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Vol. 1, p. 47. 
44 Martin Luther King to Alberta Williams King [letter], October, 1948, Stanford MLK Research and Education 
Institute online, https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/king-papers/documents/alberta-williams-king-4  
45 Kirk Byron Jones, “King Had a Mentor in Chester,” published in the 16 January 1989 edition of the Delaware 
County Daily Times
. Article reproduced at http://www.oldchesterpa.com/famous_king_jr _martin_luther htm, 
accessed 22 March 2017. 

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serve on the Chester school board.46  Resident Sara Richardson is likewise quoted as saying, “He 
was very fond of the Talley family…and called Esther Talley ‘mother.’”47  So many anecdotal 
references  exist,  that  King’s  time  spent  in  the  Chester  community  has  become  a  staple  of 
biographical accounts of his seminary years, which are replete with stories of African-American 
classmates  whose  mothers  cooked  for  King,  frequent  dinners  and  discussions  with  the  Barbour 
family,  time  spent  at  the  homes  of  Sara  Richardson,  Emma  Anderson  and  “Mother”  Esther 
Talley, and references to King’s role teaching Sunday school and speaking in Chester.48   
King’s immersion into the Crozer community is also reflected in his campus achievements. He 
served as class president in his third year, earned Valedictorian status at graduation, and received 
the Pearl Ruth Plafker Award as outstanding member of the graduating class in 1951.  Batten’s 
evaluation of King calls him “one of the most brilliant students we have had a Crozer….While 
interested  in  social  action,  he  has  a  fine  theological  and  philosophical  basis  on  which  to 
promulgate  his  ideas  and  activities…He  is  a  real  leader  as  evidenced  by  the  confidence  his 
fellow students have in him by electing him president of the student body.”49  Such confidence 
would  presumably  be  earned  by  a  student  who  was  active  in  campus  life,  rather  than  one  who 
spent a great deal of time off campus, or who lived at an off-campus location. 
The  National  Register  of  Historic  Places  has  already  recognized  King’s  significance  to  the 
Crozer campus. The seminary’s Central Building, commonly referred to as “Old Main,” served 
as the student dormitory.  It eventually became part of Crozer-Chester Medical Center after the 
Seminary  merged  with  Colgate  Rochester  Divinity  School  in  1969.    In  1972,  “Old  Main”  was 
designated  as  a  site  on  the  National  Register  after  review  of  an  application  submitted  by  W. 
Clinton Powers, Director of Development at Crozer-Chester Medical Center.  In the “Statement 
of Significance” section of the application, Powers cites the building’s construction as a “normal 
school”  in  1858,  its  use  as  a  military  hospital  during  the  Civil  War,  and  its  use  as  the  central 
building and dormitory for Crozer Theological Seminary.  The Statement of Significance notes 
46 John Lott, “Remembering a Legend: Chester Native Recalls Dinners with Martin Luther King, Jr.,” Delaware 
County Times
, January 16, 2011, http://www.delcotimes.com/article/DC/20110116/NEWS/301169999. Ms. Walker 
Hutchins, however, would have been a child at the time, so the question as to the accuracy of memories of childhood 
might lessen the impact of this testimony. 
47 Lewis Baldwin, Behind the Public Veil: The Humanness of Martin Luther King, Jr., Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg 
Fortress Publishers of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America [ELCA], 2016: 129. Available online at: 
https://books.google.com/books/about/Behind the Public Veil.html?id=VwdKDAAAQBAJ  
It is important to note that King’s use of “mother” and allusions by authors to “father figures” in these examples are 
illustrations of what anthropologist Roger D. Abrahams describes as the “tremendous number of potentially 
meaningful relationships a person can have” within an African American community.  For an overview about the 
ability of both extended family members, or even “neighbors and relations” to fill parental roles, see: Rodger D. 
Abrahams, Deep Down in the Jungle: Negro Narrative Folklore from the Streets of Philadelphia (Chicago: Aldine 
Publishing Company, 1963, republished 1970), pp. 16-37. 
48 Ibid., p. 128. 
49 Crozer Theological Seminary Placement Committee, Confidential Evaluation of Martin Luther King, Jr., by 
Charles E. Batten, February 23, 1951, Stanford MLK Research and Education Center, 
https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/king-papers/documents/crozer-theological-seminary-placement-committee-
confidential-evaluation-mart-2  

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that in addition to its remarkable history, “Martin Luther King, Jr., class of 1951, lived while a 
student in room 52 of Old Main.”50 
In  summation,  despite  the  lack  of  institutional  records  from  Crozer  Theological  Seminary, 
available documentary and testimonial evidence strongly support the assertion of that King was a 
resident  student  between  1948  and  1951,  and  that  he  was  deeply  invested  in  the  surrounding 
African-American  community  of  Chester,  Pennsylvania.    King’s  transcripts  show  him  taking  a 
full load of classes at the seminary each term, between 12 and 14 credits, including three courses 
for  credit  at  the  University  of  Pennsylvania:  Philosophy  of  History  with  Professor  Elizabeth 
Flower  (1949-50);  Immanuel  Kant  with  Professor  Paul  Schrecker  (1950-51);  and  Problems  of 
Esthetics  with  Professor  John  A.  Adams  (1950-51).51    He  was  active  on  campus  and  in  the 
community.  Had he lived in Camden, he would have faced a commute of an hour or more, as his 
time in southern New Jersey came before the construction of the Walt Whitman Bridge (which 
opened  in  1957)  and  highways  linking  Camden  to  south  Philadelphia  and  Chester.    While  not 
impossible, it is unlikely that he would have been as present and visible as he was at Crozer if he 
lived full- or part-time elsewhere while term was in session. 
753 Walnut Street, Camden, New Jersey, 1948-­‐51:
The  central  question  of  this  report  is  how  far  King’s  social  circle  extended  beyond  Chester.  
Several sources document the close relationship between King and McCall, and while the latter 
lived  on  campus  too,  he  also,  according  to  Benjamin  Hunt’s  1981  newspaper  account  and 
Jeannette Hunt’s oral history testimony, spent some time in Camden.52   
In  1948,  753  Walnut  Street  was  home  to  Benjamin  Hunt,  his  wife  Ella,  and  Sarah,  one  of  his 
three daughters.53 Hunt had purchased the home three years prior from Sarah A. McCollum, in 
50 National Register of Historic Places, #73001626 [“Old Main”], designated June 18, 1973, 
https://npgallery nps.gov/AssetDetail/NRIS/73001626  
51 Wayne Glasker, Black Students in the Ivory Tower: African American Student Activism at the University of 
Pennsylvania, 1967-1990
 (Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press, 2002), p. 22.  For King’s transcript, 
see “MLK’s Transcript from Crozer Theological Seminary,” December 6, 1950, The King Center online, 
http://www.thekingcenter.org/archive/document/mlks-transcript-crozer-theological-seminary#  
52 Unfortunately, Walter McCall was not asked about either time spent in Camden, New Jersey or his relationship to 
the Hunt family in his 1970 interview for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Center in Atlanta.  See: Walter 
McCall Interview with Herbert Holmes. The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Center Oral History Project, Atlanta, 
GA, 1970, appended in its entirety as part of Appendix D. 
53 Excerpt from Jeannette Lily M. Hunt Interview, October 26, 2017: 
MCDONALD:  So then it was Benjamin, his daughter, and his wife?  Was she there as well? 
HUNT:  My father-in-law’s wife?  Yeah, it was…they were staying, like I said, you’re going a ways back.  They 
lived there, in the house, and I remember Sarah, she’s staying in the house.  My sister-in-law, they had another 
daughter, Mary, she got married, she moved away, but she was staying there a long time. But then she got married 
when she was up in age.  And my sister-in-law, Thelma, she got married young, and she moved out.





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“King,” Lowery confirmed that she meant Walter McCall and Martin Luther King, Jr., and 
offered details about where they stayed in the house—on the second floor, the third bedroom 
from the front.  
While richly detailed on some questions, other elements of Lowery’s testimony are more 
difficult to align with other available forms of evidence.  Lowery suggests that McCall and King 
lived at 753 Walnut Street for most of one semester, and possibly a second, although what 
documentary evidence exists for residency patterns at Crozer suggest otherwise, and the 
commuting distance between Camden, New Jersey and Chester, Pennsylvania would have been 
extensive.  Lowery also intimates that McCall and King visited Camden nearly every weekend, 
but newspapers documenting speaking engagements and visits south offer compelling evidence 
otherwise.60   
 
Jeannette Hunt is the fourth source.  In both her 2015 and 2017 interviews, she clearly recalls 
Walter McCall, and details from his life.  Most intriguing, in the latter account, she indicates that 
in 1976 she traveled to Atlanta to attend McCall’s funeral, and offered specifics about that event: 
 
I knew Walter.  I knew him because he was a family member.  Like I said, I did 
go to his home. But the time I went to his home was during the time he died.  I 
remember going to his home when he died, because daddy wanted all of us to go 
down there.  Someone had sabotaged his sausage plant.  He was getting ready to 
open up a business, with selling sausage.  And that Sunday morning, someone 
had…he went there, he was on his way to church, and he noticed his place was 
sabotaged.  They say he had a heart attack from that and he died.  Because he had 
put a lot of money in there.61 
 
And while McCall’s daughter was unable to recall Jeannette Hunt, or any member of the Hunt 
family, she did confirm Hunt’s recollections surrounding the circumstances of Walter McCall’s 
death.  When questioning Milton, the Stockton team was deliberately vague, noting only that he 
owned a business, “something involved in meat packing.”  Milton’s response was intriguing, 
including a more detailed description of the enterprise, one that accorded with Jeanette Hunt’s 
account: 
 
My dad did indeed have a sausage business at the time of his demise, and yes, his 
equipment for making the sausage was sabotaged a few days before the grand 
opening of his official business. We really think that this act had a great physical 
impact on his body, thus attributing to his ultimate fatal heart attack.62 
 
60 Ibid., pp. 3 and 6. 
61 Jeannette Lily M. Hunt Interview, October 26, 2017, p. 5.  Thelma Lowery also notes that Walter McCall’s 
business was damaged just before his death; she claims it was “bombed.” 
62 Janet (and Julius) Milton Email Interview, October 26, 2017, p. 4. 

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The final piece of evidence connecting McCall to the Hunt family is also the only piece of 
contemporaneous documentary evidence that associates King with the same Camden residence, 
the criminal complaint filed in the Municipal Court of Maple Shade, New Jersey in June of 1950.  
This complaint was filed thirty-three days after Crozer’s commencement on May 9, 1950, when 
both McCall and King would presumably have moved out of their campus dormitory, but before 
King left the region, as he was still auditing a graduate-level course at the University of 
Pennsylvania (Philosophy of History with Professor Elizabeth Flower).  This course ran, 
according to Carson’s timeline in The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr., from September 26, 
1949 to June 10, 1950.63  Where the two students lived after they left the Crozer campus on May 
9, 1950 and as King completed this coursework by June 10 of the same year, however, is 
difficult to pinpoint precisely. 
 
It is possible that King lived some portion, or even all, of this time at 753 Walnut Street.  It is 
even more likely that he stayed there on the night of the Mary’s Place incident. And there is no 
doubt that the criminal complaint is an authentic document.  It has been corroborated by direct 
participants, and has long stood as an intriguing footnote in King’s biography.  It is also clear 
that King’s address on this document is listed as 753 Walnut Street, the same address as his 
friend and student colleague, Walter McCall.  
 
That being said, authenticity is not the same as validity.  Validity refers to the question of 
whether or not the information contained in an authentic document is reliable and credible, and it 
is possible, obviously, for authentic documents to contain invalid, incorrect, or distorted 
information.  In short, it is possible that King provided the 753 Walnut Street address for reasons 
of expediency, because he was temporarily itinerant, and just about to leave for home in Atlanta.  
This circumstance problematizes the validity of the information as referentially true of “his 
address,” and King did leave the area soon after this complaint was filed, as documented by his 
speeding violation in Delaware on June 16, and his appearance in Atlanta as reported by the 
Pittsburgh Courier on June 17, 1950: “The Rev. M.L. King, Jr., is home for vacation after 
having a successful year at Crozier [sic] Theological Seminary at Chester, PA.”64  Moreover, a 
photograph from June 17 shows King with “Alfred Daniel King and Christine Barber King at 
their wedding, along with Christine King.”65  In other words, however long King may have 
stayed at 753 Walnut Street prior to June 12, at that or any other time during his studies at 
Crozer, in other words, he left the area shortly thereafter.  
 
Additional elements of the criminal complaint raise other kinds of questions. Most notably, some 
time after the document was filed, it was amended in ink. These changes include the striking out 
of King’s typewritten name and address, as well as the names and addresses of all other 
complainants except that of Walter McCall.  King’s signature on the document was also crossed 
out, along with that of Pearl E. Smith (Wilson’s signature was never provided at all), leaving 
63 Carson, The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr., ibid.  This timeline has not been independently verified.  Carson’s 
timeline of papers contains a date range of 9/26/1949-6/10/1950 for King’s course notes and papers that term.  As of 
June 19, 2017, a request has been made to University of Pennsylvania’s Director of University Archives, Mark 
Frazier Lloyd for clarity. 
 
64 Carrie B. Harper, “Atlanta News,” The Pittsburgh Courier, June 17, 1950, 18. 
 
65 Carson, et al., The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr., p. 458. 
 

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McCall the sole signatory on the document as well.  In this sense, King’s address was provided, 
but then deleted.   
These changes do not necessarily invalidate any association between King and the Walnut Street 
address, either for that night or the period between May 9 and June 16, 1950.  And the number of 
oral history interviews that indicate King spent time in Camden, and specifically those of 
Jeannette Lily Hunt and Thelma Lowery, coupled with the 1981 newspaper interview of 
Benjamin Hunt, that more specifically identify King with 753 Walnut Street at other times 
during this student career at Crozer, make it more likely than not that King stayed at this address 
on the night in question. All names and addresses besides McCall’s, even the Philadelphia 
addresses correctly listed for Smith and Wilson, were also stricken, suggesting that the change 
had less to do with correcting information than with reducing, for some reason, the number of 
complainants in the case to one.   
Why McCall was selected is not known, though it may suggest his stronger association with the 
property, either as a longer-term or more frequent resident, or as a relative, as the the owner, 
Benjamin Hunt, and his daughter-in-law asserted.  Accounts of this affiliation vary; in his 1981 
newspaper interview, Hunt refers to McCall as his “cousin.”  In her subsequent interviews, his 
daughter-in-law Jeannette Hunt variously refers to McCall as a “cousin” or “nephew.”66  Thelma 
Lowery also vacillated in her memory about McCall.  While initially unable to say for certain 
whether McCall was her father’s nephew or cousin, by the end of the interview she appeared 
more certain: “No wait a minute, wait a minute, did he call him uncle or did he call him cousin?  
He called him Uncle Ben.”67 
The research team has attempted to access the case file from the New Jersey v. Nichols court 
action. Since the case, however, involved both criminal and civil actions, locating the case file 
proved difficult. During a visit to the New Jersey State Archives at the end of March 2017, 
access to Governor Alfred Driscoll’s files failed to produce any information or documentation of 
the Maple Shade incident. A thorough review was conducted in the governor’s files for the 
Division Against Discrimination and the Council on Civil Rights during the period 1947 to 1953 
likewise turned up no additional evidence.68 
The research team next explored the representativeness of the criminal complaint.  
Representativeness refers to whether or not evidence accords with other documented accounts, 
and helps further measure an artifact’s reliability.  In relation to other evidence of King’s overall 
time spent in the Delaware Valley between 1948 and 1951, including documented evidence of 
66 Benjamin Hunt states: “my cousin, Walter, was King’s friend.”  Jeannette Hunt, by comparison, notes: “Well, the 
thing about it is, the reason were there was because my father-in-law was, well, they were cousins, whatever, a 
cousin.  Walter was his nephew. So that’s how Walter got there, so that’s how Dr. King got there, because of 
Walter.”  See: Stillwell, “City Man Housed Activist,” p. 3B and Jeannette Lily M. Hunt Interview, October 26, 
2017, p. 7. 
67 Thelma Lowery Interview, December 1, 2017, pp. 3-4. 
68 Governor Alfred C. Driscoll, Records (Series I), 1947-1953, manuscript (Trenton, N.J.: New Jersey State 
Archives). 

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his residency at Crozer and in Atlanta as cited above, the criminal complaint does not appear to 
be representative as an indicator of King’s residency patterns between 1948 and 1951.  The 
preponderance of his time, in other words, was not spent in New Jersey.   
 
It is, of course, that King provided this address in the early morning hours of June 12 because it 
was, in fact, where he was staying at the time; that particular night came thirty-two days after the 
end of Crozer’s term, two days after the end of University of Pennsylvania’s term, and four days 
before his return trip to Atlanta. More than one contemporaneous news report, however, 
complicates this interpretation.  On June 17, 1950, the Philadelphia Tribune provided precise 
street addresses for Pearl Smith and Doris Wilson as listed on the criminal complaint, but refers 
to the two men involved as “Michael King, Atlanta, Ga., and Walter McCall of South Carolina, 
students at Crozer Theological Seminary.”  On June 20, 1950, the same newspaper refers to King 
as “Michael King, [a] theological seminary student at Crozer seminary, Chester, Pa.” (June 20).69  
It is not known why addresses for the women were given, while those for the two men in the 
complaint were not.  Possibly reporters were aware that both students had left the region by the 
time these articles went to press, and so were technically no longer associated with 753 Walnut 
Street, or any other local address. Regardless of their motivations, what remains is that, in 
instances where residency patterns appear as part of the documentary record in contemporary 
coverage, they do not reinforce an association between King and 753 Walnut Street.  
 
In sum, the criminal complaint denoting Martin Luther King’s address as 753 Walnut Street does 
not, on its own, firmly establish the representative evidence of King “living” or “residing” in 
Camden on a frequent, regular, part-time or full-time basis between 1948 and 1951. It is possible 
to adduce from the complaint, however, the circumstances of King’s “gap” between terms, and 
his close friendship with Walter McCall, with whom Benjamin Hunt, the owner of 753 Walnut 
Street, had a familiar relation, that King may have stayed in the residence for at least some of the 
time between May 9 and June 16, 1950, almost certainly the night of the Mary’s Place incident, 
and likely from the night of the Mary’s Place incident on June 11 to the time he departed for 
Atlanta on June 16.   
The Advantages and Limitations of Oral History Testimony:
Like Walter McCall, the only available evidence beyond the criminal complaint that places King at 
753 Walnut Street are based on individual’s memories collected decades after the time in question. 
Oral histories are valuable research resources, particularly when used to reinforce other evidentiary 
forms. The four most salient interviews—those of Benjamin Hunt, owner of 753 Walnut Street 
between 1948 and 1951, Jeanette Lily Hunt, his daughter-in-law and a teenager during the time in 
question, Thelma Lowery, Hunt’s daughter and a resident in the house between 1945 and 1951 or 
1952, and Donald “Ducky” Birts, a civil rights activist—each have some limitations, however.  
Analyses of these interviews form this final section of the report.  
 
 
 
 
69 “NJ Innkeeper Held After Four Charge Refusal,” Philadelphia Tribune, June 20, 1950. 
 

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1. Benjamin Hunt (1981)
As noted previously, the Courier-Post interviewed Benjamin Hunt for an article entitled “City 
Man Housed Activist” in 1981. Hunt was 81 at the time, recalling events that had occurred more 
than three decades earlier. Although he clearly stated that King resided at 753 Walnut Street 
during the Maple Shade incident, it is the first time since the 1950 complaint that such a 
connection is explicitly drawn.70  While provocative, other elements of Hunt’s recollection of 
events do not align with available evidence.  In his description of the actual confrontation at 
Mary’s Place, for example, Hunt held that after McCall and King were refused service, “there 
must have been a fight . . . and the boys ran away.  But the cops caught them and locked them 
up.  It was King’s idea to call a doctor [Ulysses S. Wiggins] to get them out.”71 McCall and King 
were not pursued by the police or arrested, however, but voluntarily went to the Maple Shade 
police station to file a complaint.  Wiggins did not need to secure a release, but was enlisted to 
help them file charges against Nichols.  
Hunt’s description of 753 Walnut Street also raises questions.  He noted that: 
In those days, anybody was welcome in this house.  It had what we called a swinging 
door.  My cousin, Walter, was King’s friend and the two of them lived in the back room 
upstairs on and off for two years when they were in school.  He got along just fine with 
everybody and fit in like one of the family.72 
The phrase “lived …on and off” offers a paradoxical accounting of time and duration, ultimately 
complicating rather than clarifying judgments about the strength of King’s association with the 
property.  The preponderance of evidence indicates, of course, that King did not live at 753 
Walnut Street for two years while in seminary.  Moreover, “the family,” into which King is said 
to have fit, is also an imprecise category: does this term refer strictly to blood relatives or to 
“anybody” staying there at any time, having come through the “swinging door?”73  And it is 
worth noting that Hunt’s claim of familial closeness is not unique; that same language 
characterizes dozens of references to King’s interactions with members of the Chester, PA 
community. 
It is also important to remember that Eileen Stillwell, a reporter, conducted Hunt’s 1981 
interview, and was not necessarily held to the same professional standards of scholarly rigor that 
a historian might have been in collecting and interpreting her evidence.  In the article’s opening, 
for example, Stillwell offers a powerful allusion of familial bonds: 
Tucked away in every nook and cranny of the living room bookcases were photos of 
happy memories – three wives, seven children, a dozen grandchildren and a world 
famous civil rights leader who “fit in like one of the family.” 
70 Eileen Stillwell, “City Man Housed Activist, Courier Post, January 16, 1981, 1B, 3B. 
71 Ibid. 
72 Ibid. 
73 Ibid. 

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That’s how Benjamin Hunt . . . described his feelings about his former live-in house-
guest, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.74 
 
Read closely, however, the first paragraph does not claim that there are family photographs of 
King on Hunt’s bookshelf (i.e., personal artifacts showing King with Hunt’s family at 753 
Walnut Street or elsewhere).  The images described in 1981 might have as easily been popular or 
iconic images of King mixed among personal effects.  If images of King with family were extant, 
they were not included in Courier-Post article, which seems a strange omission. They also did 
not appear in the course of Duff’s subsequent investigation and interviews in 2015, nor those of 
the Stockton Research Team in 2017.   
 
As a final note, the article concludes that, “King left the area [and] Hunt never heard from him 
again.”75   Had King’s ties to the family been as strong as other portions of the article imply, the 
subsequent lack of communication seems out of place.  King returned to Camden in 1952 to deliver a 
sermon after moving to Boston, and revisited the greater Delaware Valley on many more occasions 
throughout his life.  He did not, however, apparently revisit Hunt or 753 Walnut Street. 
 
2.  Jeanette Lily M. Hunt (2015 and 2017)
The second oral history to suggest a connection between Martin Luther King, Jr. and 753 Walnut 
Street was of Jeanette Lily Hunt, Benjamin Hunt’s daughter-in-law, taken in 2015.  Ms. Hunt 
assumed ownership of the property in question when her husband, Jethroe Hunt, died in 2005.  
The structure on the property subsequently fell into disarray and ultimately decay when left 
vacant.  Patrick Duff contacted Ms. Hunt in 2015 during his efforts to ascertain the significance 
of the property and preserve it as a historic site.  According to a media account of their first 
meeting, Duff knocked on the door at her home on Pine Street, and asked the then 83-year old 
Hunt, “Did you know Martin Luther King?”  In his words, she replied, “‘Absolutely, he lived in 
my house.’”76 
 
Over the next two years, and up to the present time, 753 Walnut Street’s restoration and pending 
application for designation on the New Jersey Register of Historical Places has been reported 
variously in many local media outlets.  Ms. Hunt, according to a February 9, 2015 report by 
Aaron Moselle of Newsworks and NBC Philadelphia, had been “giving her blessing to a man 
[Duff] on a mission,” and “helping activists who are trying to have the property listed on the 
National Register of Historic Places.”77  She appeared at a major public relations event in 
September 2016 with Duff, Congressman Donald Norcross (D-NJ-01), Congressman John Lewis 
74 Ibid.  
 
75 Ibid. 
 
76 Aaron Moselle, “Camden Man Fights to Save House Where Martin Luther King Stayed,” Newsworks.org online, 
NBC-10, February 15, 2015, http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/NJ-Man-Fights-to-Save-House-Where-
Martin-Luther-King-Jr-Stayed-291502631 html 
 
77 Ibid. 
 

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(D-GA-05), and others.  Shortly afterward, she agreed to transfer ownership of the property to 
Cooper’s Ferry Partnership, a local non-profit.   
Duff provided the Stockton research team with an audio copy and transcript of the interview he 
conducted with Ms. Hunt in January 2015, which was analyzed alongside all extant media 
coverage of the event.  
The January 2015 interview comprises the bulk of Ms. Hunt’s testimony.  Ms. Hunt is quoted 
only twice afterward, at a September 2016 event held in Camden, and in a January 2017 New 
York Times
 piece about efforts to preserve the house.78  Present on the day of the January 2015 
interview in her Pine Street home were Duff, Colandus “Kelly” Francis of the Camden County 
Branch of the NAACP, and Ed Colimore of The Philadelphia Inquirer.  
During the course of the interview, Ms. Hunt’s certainty about particulars vacillates at times, and 
relies on information provided to her—rather than experienced by her directly—at others. When 
asked about the Maple Shade incident, for example, Ms. Hunt offers an account proximate to that 
offered by her father-in-law, Benjamin Hunt, in his 1981 profile: 
Duff: And then what about when he [King] lived there at that house, do you remember 
when that happened in Maple Shade, when he got . . . ? 
Hunt:  I wasn’t there.  From my understanding, my cousin called my father-in-law to 
come to Maple Shade because they were locked up, and he got them out. 
Duff: So they got locked up? 
Hunt:  I think they were locked up.  I think that’s the way the story went.  Because he 
went down to get them out. Now that’s the best, that’s all I know.79 
When asked several minutes later why she kept information about King and her house to herself 
all these years, Ms. Hunt refers to the Courier-Post write-up, which apparently was not known to 
the interviewers prior to the time.  She also admits, “I never really looked into it, to know all the 
who what when and wheres.”80 She also warns the interviewers, “Don’t document anything I’m 
not sure of.”81   
The focus of the interview then shifts to the property itself, when Duff suggests that historic 
significance might help alleviate the interviewee’s current financial difficulties. Ms. Hunt 
describes how the house passed from a renter, who “tore it up,” to its then unoccupied status, 
78 Ashley Ross, “A Camden Address with a Link to Martin Luther King, Jr.,” The New York Times, January 15, 
2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/15/nyregion/martin-luther-king-jr-camden-new-jersey html 
79 Jeanette Lily M. Hunt Interview by Patrick Duff et al., transcribed by John O’Hara, p. 1. 
80 Ibid. 
81 Ibid., p. 2. 

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drawing drug users and squatters who contributed to its further demise. The result had been 
personally taxing to Ms. Hunt: “I have been putting out money, money, money, money.”   
Duff: What’s going on with house now, 753 Walnut? 
Hunt:  It’s just there.  I didn’t have it demolished… 
Duff: Well, good. 
Hunt: I didn’t have it demolished.  I had called—what’s that guy that does all the 
demolishing here? 
Duff: Hargrove. 
Hunt:  Yeah, Hargrove, but he wanted $35,000.  That was a few years ago.  But the drug 
addicts keep breaking in, and . . . it’s still a problem.  I put out so much money trying to 
keep it, until I said, uh, I am tired of paying taxes on it. 
Duff: Well, I think with your statement, and with the information we have, that’s going to 
be enough to make that a historical site. 
Hunt:  I would love that!82 
This form of questioning, along with the introduction of financial considerations, complicates the 
value of Ms. Hunt’s interview in some respects: first, by using language here and elsewhere in 
the interview that implies the interviewer’s desire for a particular account of the property; and 
second, by effecting Ms. Hunt’s conscious or subconscious understanding of the potential fiscal 
relief that could result, should the property be shown to have been King’s one-time home.  
Indeed, after the issue of tax relief is discussed, Ms. Hunt’s responses become clearer.  Duff and 
Colimore begin discussing the disputed property King allegedly occupied at 904 Newton 
Avenue: 
Duff:  Well, the interesting thing is, I have reached out to him and I called him, and I said 
I found this information [about 753] that shows an address, and he wasn’t very happy 
about it, actually.  And I said to him, listen, my job, what I do, is I am a social activist, a 
civil rights activist, and it’s not to worry about the temperament of somebody else, or if 
somebody’s going to be upset, it’s to find the truth, and then expose the truth.  And, uh, 
like in Maple Shade—in Maple Shade, the incident that happened to him is told like it 
was folklore, like it never really happened.  
Hunt: Yes, it did happen, because my father-in-law . . . I remember my father-in-law 
went up there to get them out, whatever trouble they were in, so that they could come 
back.  When they came back that night, they slept at 753 Walnut Street.83 
82 Ibid., 5. 
83 Ibid., 4. 

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Note that Ms. Hunt’s testimony shifted from “I wasn’t there,” and “I think that’s the way the 
story went,” to the more definitive claim, “I remember...”  This is a subtle distinction, but 
indicates her transformation from a second-hand recipient of the story earlier in the interview to 
a first-hand witness. The interview continues with Colimore, the Inquirer reporter, asking Ms. 
Hunt about the duration of King’s alleged residence in Camden: 
 
EC:  …How long was he in that house, at 753…? 
 
Hunt:  I guess until he graduated. 
 
EC:  Was that two years, or…? 
 
Hunt:  If you could get a hold of the yearbook from Crozer, from the Seminary… 
 
EC:  Did he stay there from the time he went to Crozer, so from 48-51? 
 
Hunt:  I’m not sure, all I know is they say the time he went to the Seminary, that’s where 
he graduated from, he stayed at 753, he never stayed no place else in Camden. 
 
EC:  Ok, so he probably was 48-51, you think, huh? 
 
Hunt: Yeah, but the whole time he was at Crozer, that’s when he was at 753 Walnut. 
 
Duff: I got goosebumps everywhere.84 
 
The framing of the interview, once again, led the subject to a particular set of conclusions that, 
like those of Benjamin Hunt, contradict what the documentary record demonstrates.  Whatever 
length of time King spent at 753 Walnut Street, it was not the duration of his time at seminary. 
The conclusion of the interview returns to the question of financial relief: 
 
Hunt:  And I can almost visualize seeing him, even when we’d be outside on the 
sidewalk, him leaning up on the car, you know…but that’s one of the reasons why I 
can’t…I knew he stayed in that back room, and I didn’t want to get rid of the house.  
Camden was killing me with the taxes, and nobody in it. 
 
Duff: Well, you know the house next to it, they are $47,000 in back taxes and $95,000 in 
interest and penalties, that’s what they owe on it. 
 
Hunt: The house next door? 
 
Francis: 755. 
 
84 Ibid., 4. 
 

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Duff: The house next door, 755, so…That might be something I can help them out with 
too, because…Didn’t you guys own both houses, 755 and 753?85 
Hunt: That house was my father-in-law’s house. 
Duff: …ok, because I saw that in the records. 
Hunt: But presently his daughter’s son…something, I don’t go over there. 
Duff: Jeanette, right? 
Hunt:  I’m Jeanette. 
Duff: Ok, you’re Jeanette.  Who’s Lily? 
Hunt: Me! 
Duff: Ok, so Jeanette Lily is the same person [affirmed, they discuss her name, origin, 
spelling, kidding around, phone rings, call taken by Ms. Hunt]. 
Duff: [to Francis and Colimore while Ms. Hunt talks on phone] I told you I was right.  I 
knew it, I had a feeling. 
Here, too, it is critical to note that Duff refers to the attached building’s back taxes and penalties, 
and comments, “That might be something I can help them out with, too,” before revealing that he 
believes they are relatives of Ms. Hunt.  “Because,” he continues, “didn’t you guys own both 
houses, 755 and 753?”  Ms. Hunt relates her estrangement from this relative, but this does not 
negate Duff’s suggestion, which, however well-intentioned, may have led the interviewee 
through the apparent suggestion that there would be further personal and familial relief or gain 
resulting from additional positive evidence about King’s association with 753 Walnut. 
Duff finally reveals his own conscious or unconscious predisposition to elicit positive and 
confirming results coming into the interview.  His final comment (“I knew it, I had a feeling”) 
suggests that he had already formed a strong opinion during the collection of this information, 
rather than approaching the question from the outset with a neutral perspective.  
3. Interview with Thelma Lowery (2017)
The Stockton Research Team endeavored to contact Thelma Lowery to interview her for this 
project.  While they were unsuccessful in doing so, Patrick Duff conducted a telephone interview 
one day after the original final report was submitted to the HPO.  While team members would 
have preferred to complete the interview themselves to preserve the research process, it was 
85 755 Walnut Street was owned first by Louis L. Dorflinger, until he sold it to his brother, John Dorflinger, in 1929. 
John Dorflinger, in turn, owned the property until 1963, when he sold it to Benjamin and Ella Hunt (see Camden 
County Deed Book 2657:345, September 11, 1963). 

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decided to include both a transcript of the conversation in the report appendices, as well as a 
discussion of the potential significance of the interview in the report narrative. 
 
According to Ms. Lowery’s recollections, she lived at 753 Walnut Street between 1945, when 
she was in 8th or 9th grade, until she married.  She could not recall her wedding date with 
certainty, but believed it to be 1951 or the following year: “Well, I got to look it up, the first time 
I got married.  I think the first time I got married was in, wait a minute, ’51 or ’52.”86 This would 
mean that she resided at 753 Walnut Street from the time she was 13 or 14 until she was between 
19 and 22, depending on the year of her marriage. 
 
Lowery’s description of the house at 753 Walnut Street is more circumscribed than that provided 
by her sister-in-law, but it is consistent—a four-bedroom home that hosted a lot of company.  Of 
particular note, she insisted that McCall and King used the third bedroom on the second floor, 
not the back bedroom as has been asserted in earlier newspaper accounts: 
 
LOWERY:  They lived in the ….it was a four-bedroom house.  They lived in the third 
bedroom. 
 
DUFF:  And where was that located in the house? 
 
LOWERY: Upstairs. 
 
DUFF:  Upstairs in the middle or the back… 
 
LOWERY: Second floor. 
 
DUFF:  Middle, front or back second floor? 
 
LOWERY:  Okay, you have the front bedroom, second bedroom, third bedroom, the 
bathroom, and another bedroom. 
 
DUFF:  Okay, so they had the third bedroom. 
 
LOWERY: Yes. 
 
DUFF:  Okay, I’m just trying…because when I go into the house I was trying to get the 
layout of it. 
 
LOWERY: You’ll see it. 
 
DUFF: Yeah, I saw it, and then there’s like a back bedroom. 
 
LOWERY:  Yes. 
86 Thelma Lowery Interview, December 1, 2017, pp. 2-3.  Lowery’s account conflicts with that offered by Jeannette 
Lily Hunt who held that a different daughter—Sarah—was in residence during the time of King’s prospective visits. 

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DUFF: So it wasn’t the back bedroom, it was the third bedroom? 
LOWERY: No, it was the third bedroom. 
DUFF: [laughs] This whole time I thought it was the back bedroom.87 
Her characterization of the family’s relationship to Walter McCall also corresponds to that of 
Ms. Hunt, an acknowledgement that there was a familial bond, but an uncertainty about the 
specific nature of the relationship: 
DUFF: When you say, your cousin, so Walter McCall was he your cousin, or was he 
Benjamin Hunt’s cousin? Your dad. 
LOWERY: He was my cousin. 
DUFF:  And he was your dad’s nephew, 
LOWERY: Yeah. 
DUFF:  Aha… 
LOWERY: Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute, I got to double-check that one.  
I’ll double-check it with my cousin in the south.  Because I know he was my cousin. 
Ms. Lowery named her southern cousin as Sylvia Hunt, who she described as “a younger one, 
the one who knows everything,” although later in the same interview, she acknowledges that 
“she only knows what her momma told her.”88  It should be noted that two of the newspaper 
advertisements that mention a presentation by Martin Luther King also mention Walter McCall 
(see Appendix C).  They do not, however, shed light on either 753 Walnut Street or the Hunt 
family directly, and Ms. Lowery denied knowledge of any special affiliation between McCall 
and local Camden churches when asked.89 
4. Interview with Donald “Ducky” Birts (2016)
The fourth interview linking Martin Luther King, Jr. with 753 Walnut Street was that of Donald 
“Ducky” Birts, a prominent Camden native, businessman, philanthropist, and civil rights activist 
who worked in the early 1960s with the Rev. Jesse Jackson, and met Martin Luther King, Jr. on 
more than one occasion.90  This oral history, collected by Patrick Duff in June of 2016, contains 
87 Ibid., p. 7. 
88 Ibid., p. 4. 
89 Ibid., p. 6.  Duff asked Ms. Lowery: “And were they associated with any local churches in Camden? That you 
know of?”  And she responded: “No, no…not on the weekends. 
90 For a full biography of Donald Birts, see http://duckybirtsfoundation.com/donaldbirts1.html 

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reminiscences by Birts about his time in Philadelphia and Camden in the early 1960s, as well as 
the conditions for African Americans both regionally and nationally.91
At the time of his interview, Birts had already read in the newspapers about Duff’s efforts to 
preserve the Walnut Street property, which he confirms near the end of their discussion: 
Duff:  Do you think that house on Walnut Street that King stayed in, do you think that 
should be preserved? 
Birts:  Should be preserved.  You’re on the right track.  I mean, you called me, I knew 
who you was.  I knew about you.  I knew [indecipherable] about that in the paper, had a 
section of the Inquirer, over here Jersey section, had about that, I said, “That’s a good 
thing, man.” You know, I never knew that you were doing this in Camden, till you called 
me.  I didn’t turn you down, no, I’d never turn you down.92 
That Birts had pre-existing knowledge of the effort to investigate and preserve 753 Walnut 
before being asked to attest to his own knowledge of King’s presence in Camden unfortunately 
calls into some question the reliability of the information he provides about 753 Walnut Street. 
Such problems generally fall under the category of confirmation biases and constitute potential 
errors in information processing and analysis.93 Confirmation biases may have occurred initially 
on the part of the researcher, Duff, as he searched for information sources likely to confirm his 
belief or hypothesis.  In this case, Duff contacted Birts with the objective of gathering 
information about King’s time in Camden, rather than with the broader goal of ascertaining 
whether King spent significant time in the city, and at this residence in particular.  The 
distinction is an important one, as it indicates that the goal was to bolster a pre-ordained 
conclusion, rather than weigh available evidence.   
Birts initially establishes that he is more familiar with King’s time in Philadelphia, than in 
Camden: 
Duff: When did you meet Dr. King? 
Birts:  I met Dr. King, 19—hmm—60, I think it was, 1960. 
Duff:  Ok.  And then did Dr. King tell you that he used to live in Camden? 
91 Correspondence, email from Patrick Duff to John O’Hara, June 27, 2017. From the outset, it is clear that the 
interview was conducted with a specific agenda in mind. Mr. Duff relayed the circumstances under which he 
communicated with Donald Birts: “A woman named Helene Pierson was handed a note at a meeting where she was 
talking about King in Camden and the person said that she should get into contact with Ducky.  She then forwarded 
me the note and I found him via Congressperson Bob Brady's office, where he works as a community liaison.” 
92 Donald “Ducky” Birts Interview by Patrick Duff, excerpted and transcribed by John O’Hara, June 16, 2016, p. 4. 
93 For a thorough account of various forms of confirmation bias, see Raymond S. Nickerson, “Confirmation Bias: A 
Ubiquitous Phenomenon in Many Guises,” Review of General Psychology 2.2, 1998, 175-220,  
http://pages.ucsd.edu/~mckenzie/nickersonConfirmationBias.pdf  

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Birts:  Yeah, he told me, yeah, he told me.  But I met him stronger coming to Philly with 
Jesse [Jackson], not in Camden, but coming to Philly, and then the meetings in Philly 
with Georgie Wood, Murray Mason, you know those people back in the day . . .94  
 
A couple minutes later, the interviewer steers the reminiscence back to the key question of 
residency: 
 
Duff: . . . The conversation you had with Dr. King, did he specify how long he lived in 
Camden? 
 
Birts: No, he didn’t.  
 
Duff: Ok. 
 
Birts:  No, he didn’t specify.  During those days, coming from the south, they got a lot of 
relatives.  And they stayed with each other, because they didn’t have the money to go in a 
hotel.  And they wouldn’t accept us in the triple-A hotels, Holidays Inns, and the hotels 
now.  Hilton and all those people.  They didn’t accept us, to stay there, number one.  
People do that talking now, everything’s open, but back then, brother, you sat in the back 
of the bus.  On the train, you sat in the back of the train.  And you head in to town, you 
snuck into town, you snuck out of town.  You didn’t have that openness.  They had that 
hook up.  [FBI Director J. Edgar] Hoover back in them days was tracking King 
everywhere he went as a communist.  He was considered as a normal being.  He didn’t 
have that royalty until late in his years, late in his years.  
 
Duff: Did Dr. King tell you where he lived in Camden? 
 
Birts:  Yeah, Walnut Street, he told me Walnut Street, yeah.  Walnut Street, yeah. 
 
Duff:  Do you remember where you were when you had that conversation? 
 
Birts:  Oh, man, I was a young whippersnapper, man, I don’t know, might have been at 
the park, [indecipherable], or Dr. Wiggins’ office.  We only had a few landmarks.  We 
weren’t renegades everywhere. 
 
In this exchange, Birts remembers a detail about Walnut Street but is unable to recall basic 
information as to the time and place of the conversation in which he acquired the information. 
And Birts was already familiar with the Walnut Street preservation effort before Duff requested 
the interview, and throughout the exchange, Duff offers confirmatory feedback to Birts, which 
could have caused his to have more confidence in his memory, than he might have otherwise.95 
 
94 Donald “Ducky” Birts Interview, June 16, 2016, 1. 
 
95 Maria S. Zaragoza, Kristie E. Payment, et al., “Interviewing Witnesses: Forced Confabulation and Confirmatory 
Feedback Strengthens False Memories,” Psychological Science 12.6 (2001): 473-477. 
 

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All other remaining evidence about King’s time in New Jersey focuses on the Mary’s Place 
incident and its potential impact on King’s life and experience. It less often, however, directly 
extends to the question of King’s association with 753 Walnut Street.  
The only reference to events in Maple Shade, New Jersey in King’s own words appeared in an 
article by Charles Layne for the Philadelphia Tribune published on October 28, 1961.96  Layne 
was reporting on a speech by King at the end of a four-day visit to Philadelphia, “his former 
home city,” as he “lived in this area ten years ago”:  
…told reporters of his own local experience with segregation when, in 1951, while 
driving two friends from Philadelphia to Merchantville, NJ, the group stopped for some 
food. ‘They refused to serve us,’ King said. ‘It was a painful experience because we 
decided to sit in.’ He said the owner of the establishment thereupon produced a pistol 
saying, ‘I’ll kill for less than that.’ 
King and his companions got the police and came back. He says the grand jury didn’t 
indict because two white customers present at the time refused to testify.  Dr. King’s two 
companions on the adventure were Walter McCall and Rev. Ray Ware.97 
Some details of this brief account accord with other descriptions of events that transpired in 
Maple Shade, NJ—the statement attributed to Nichols, and the reference to the two white 
customers who refused testify.  Other elements, however, differ from what the documentary 
record supports, such as the misstated year, the account of “driving from Philadelphia” to a 
destination in Merchantville, New Jersey, and the reference to the Rev. Ware.  While this 
statement constitutes perhaps the strongest evidence of the role of the Mary’s Place incident on 
King’s earliest civil rights activities, it does not provide evidence of his association with 753 
Walnut Street, apart from mentioning Walter McCall, whose reputed family owned the building.  
Walter McCall’s own interview, collected by Herbert Holmes in 1970, also recalls the 1950 
incident: 
McCall:  The first civil rights struggle that King had ever been in was with me.  It was in 
Maple Shade, New Jersey in 1950, I think.  We went into a restaurant one night and to 
my amazement it was a discriminating type of place and the man refused to serve us.  The 
man shoved a 45 pistol in my face while King and our guests were seated at the table.  As 
a result of what took place, I brought a suit against the man.  King and I served as our 
own defense.  It was the first time that we had ever been in any kind of civil rights 
struggle.  The attorney General for that section of New Jersey, Johnson, was a dear friend 
of mine.  He provided counsel for us and we won our case in the preliminaries.  Then it 
was taken to a grand jury.  We couldn’t be our plaintiff and defendant at the same time.  
It just happened that the young white boys who were there and were to testify against the 
owner discovered that their parents had brought pressure against them and they couldn’t 
96 Charles Layne, “Rev. King Lauds on Strides to Integration,” The Philadelphia Tribune, October 28, 1961, 1. 
97 Ibid.

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appear.  As a result, we just dropped the thing.  I’m sure that Ernie, who ran this place, 
was very happy as well.98 
 
But, once again, while his recollections help establish a link between the Mary’s Place incident 
and King’s experience with discrimination as a young adult, McCall unfortunately does not 
mention Camden, the Hunt family, or 753 Walnut Street. 
 
Finally, in January 1976, The Philadelphia Inquirer ran an extended obituary piece about Ernest 
Nichols, Proprietor of Mary’s Place and his involvement in the Maple Shade incident. “Dr. 
King,” the obituary reports, “according to a spokesman for the Southern Christian Leadership 
Conference, often recounted the incident as one example of what stirred his interest in the civil 
rights movement.”  Thomas McGann, by that time a Burlington County Superior Court Judge, 
also reflected on the 1950 incident for the obituary: 
 
“No one gave much thought to it at all until 1968,” [McGann said].  “At that time, some 
senator had asked Dr. King what inspired his interest in civil rights and he recounted 
what had happened to him in what he called a suburb of New Jersey.”99 
 
Several years later, McGann wrote a piece for the New Jersey Bar Association’s bimonthly 
journal, New Jersey Lawyer, a version of which was also published in the Courier-Post on 
February 4, 1996.  In this article, McGann offered additional details: 
 
As I listened to radio reporter Fulton Lewis, Jr. in the early 1960s, he was commenting on 
the national news of the day and touching on a significant report of a U.S. Senate 
committee dealing with civil rights and the committee’s principal witness, the Rev. 
Martin Luther King, Jr.  According to Lewis, Dr. King, when questioned, explained why 
he had taken such an unusual interest in civil rights. 
 
Dr. King pointed to an incident that occurred when he was a seminarian and was staying 
with a friend in Camden.  They and others one evening went out and stopped at a place in 
a “suburb of Camden” where they sought to buy “refreshments” but were rudely refused 
and threatened by the proprietor. 100 
 
It is worth noting that McGann does not directly claim that he knew that King was “staying with 
a friend in Camden.”  He instead attributes that claim to Lewis’ paraphrase of King’s explanation 
to a U.S. senator.  Time is also a mitigating factor; McGann’s source for Lewis’ statement was a 
radio program broadcast two decades earlier.  McGann then paraphrases Lewis as quoting King: 
“Dr. King pointed to an incident…one evening… in a ‘suburb of Camden,’ where they sought to 
buy ‘refreshments.’”101   
98 Walter McCall Interview by Herbert Holmes, March 31, 1970, 16-17.   
 
99 George Anastasia, “Ernest Nichols, 80, Bartender Recalled for King Incident,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, January 
17, 1976, 11. 
 
100 W. Thomas McGann, “King’s Camden Dispute Was Crucial,” New Jersey Lawyer (January 16, 1996): 6. 
 
101 Ibid. 
 

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Complicating this further still, McGann’s earlier 1976 account in Nichols’ obituary held that 
King’s account was made directly to a senator in 1968: “King recounted what happened to him 
in what he called ‘a suburb of New Jersey.’”102  This attributes words to King at a time later than 
“the early 1960s,” and leaves Fulton Lewis, Jr. out altogether.  McGann’s still later account in 
the 1996 Courier-Post revision of the New Jersey Lawyer essay repeats the claim about hearing 
this information through Fulton Lewis, more specifically through a broadcast in which Lewis 
said King answered a senator’s question about his interests in civil rights by saying he was trying 
to purchase “‘refreshments’… ‘in a suburb of Camden.’”103 
King’s only appearance as a principal witness before a U.S. Senate committee, however, was his 
December 15, 1966 testimony before the Senate Committee on Government Operations on the 
subject of the Federal Role in Urban Affairs.  His testimony contains no reference to Camden, 
the Mary’s Place incident, or matters relevant to this report.104 Moreover, this testimony was 
given approximately four months after Lewis’ death, challenging the accuracy of McGann’s 
memory. 
McGann’s accounts both in New Jersey Lawyer and the Courier-Post introduce yet another 
uncertainty about the legal aftermath of the Mary’s Place incident.  In both publications, 
McGann writes that, after some preliminaries in the 1950 case, including transfer to Burlington 
County because of the seriousness of the accusation, “nothing ever came of the charges because 
the complaining witnesses never appeared before the grand jury.”105  In legal terminology, a 
“complaining witness” refers to the alleged victim of a crime. King and McCall, by contrast, 
both reported that the case was dropped when two white witnesses failed to testify.  McGann’s 
account says that King and McCall did not show up. It is possible they somehow learned that the 
“two white witnesses” were not going to show up, and so chose to absent themselves as well, 
rationalizing their subsequent claims, or that King simply had to arrive at his brother’s wedding 
by June 17, and decided that letting go of this legal entanglement in New Jersey was easier and 
more prudent.  Or, it is possible that King and McCall’s account is true and the “two white 
witnesses” did not show up. 
In the end, McGann’s testimony is difficult to substantiate.  It might well support the ideas that 
King stayed in Camden the night of June 12, but other discrepancies make it difficult to parse 
what definitively occurred.  
102 Anastasia, “Ernest Nichols,” p. 11. 
103 W. Thomas McGann, “The South Jersey Tavern Dispute Which Inspired Martin Luther King,” New Jersey 
Lawyer 
(February 4, 1996): 24. Lewis died August 20, 1966, and his final news broadcasts occurred in August that 
year. Recordings of all of Lewis’ broadcasts through 1966 are held by a repository at Syracuse University. 
104 Testimony of Martin Luther King, Jr.,” Hearings Before the Subcommittee on Executive Reorganization of the 
Committee on Government Operations, United States Senate, Eighty-Ninth Congress, Second Session, December 14 
and 15, 1966, Part 14
. Washington D.C.: United States Government Printing Office, 1967. 2967-2982, 
http://college.cengage.com/history/ayers primary sources/king justice 1966.htm  
105 McGann, “King’s Camden Dispute,” p. 6. 

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Section 4: Conclusions
 
Difficulty characterizing Martin Luther King, Jr.’s time in Camden is apparent in the media 
coverage related to the property between 2015 and 2017. Some journalists enthusiastically refer 
to 753 Walnut Street as King’s one-time “home,” and others more judiciously referring to the 
property as a place he “stayed,” “may have stayed,” or “visited.”  The Stockton Research Team 
concludes that King may reasonably be said to have “stayed” or “visited” 753 Walnut Street at 
certain points in time, but at no time could be said to have “lived” there according to usual 
standards for establishing residency, i.e., tax records, voting records, census records, a property 
lease, a permanent mailing address.  
 
The paucity of concrete information about King’s potential Camden movements means that it 
ultimately comes down to speculation about whether he stayed a night, a week, a month, or on 
some regular or inconsistent basis at 753 Walnut Street during his Crozer years, and whether he 
studied there, had any more significant relationships there, or simply visited or slept there on 
recreational visits in Camden or Philadelphia.  Clayborne Carson, one of King’s chief 
biographers, when asked about the Camden connection, offered the tantalizing theory that 
perhaps King “had a pad . . . a place outside of the campus dormitory where if you wanted to 
take a trip to Philadelphia, you had a place to stay.”106  In this imagining, King may have enjoyed 
select evenings or weekends in a diverse city away from Crozer’s almost all-white student 
population, free of any in loco parentis-type strictures that may have existed on campus, and 
beyond the scope of a small-town population where he had a reputation as a serious student and 
community leader.   
 
However, such propositions largely remain conjecture. While many contemporary scholars hold 
that King’s life has too often been treated as strictly serious and cerebral, and that his 
experiences as an embodied mid-century, African-American may also be important to 
understanding his formation and development, the lack of evidence about King’s time at 753 
Walnut Street makes it difficult to determine whether the city was a sanctuary or study, a base 
for weekend recreation or a convenient place to stay in between some combination of these 
activities.    
Our belief that King spent some time between 1948 and 1951 at 753 Walnut Street rests largely 
on extrapolations of evidence fragments and old memories, at times confusing or even 
contradictory. Taken together, however, such documentation points to the more than likely 
assumption of King’s sometime presence at 753 Walnut Street, at least during the May and June 
of 1950. King’s friendship with Walter McCall, McCall’s familial relationship with Benjamin 
Hunt, the likelihood that McCall periodically stayed at his relative’s residence, as well as the 
probability that King may have joined him on occasion, are not a preponderance of proof or a 
definitive conclusion.  They do create, however, a plausible scenario, the most likely situation 
available evidence suggests.   
106 Ross, “A Camden Address,”

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Section 5: Bibliography
Newspapers Cited:
Atlanta Journal Constitution 
Chester Times 
Courier-Post
 
The New York Times 
The Philadelphia Inquirer 
The Philadelphia Tribune 
Pittsburgh Courier 
The Tennessean 

Oral History/Email Interviews:
Beshai, James.  Email interview with John O’Hara. Stockton Biographical Investigation Project, 
New Jersey Historic Preservation Office. Conducted from Galloway, New Jersey, October 24, 
2017. 
Birts, Donald “Ducky.” Interview with Patrick Duff. Personal Interview. Conducted in 
Philadelphia, PA, June 16, 2016. Excerpted and transcribed by John O’Hara, June 22, 2017. For 
a full bibliography of Donald Birts, see: http://duckybirtsfoundation.com/donaldbirts1.html  
Collins, Michael, Office of Congressman John Lewis.  Email correspondence with John O’Hara, 
Stockton Biographical Investigation Project, New Jersey Historic Preservation Office. 
Conducted from Galloway, New Jersey, October 19, 2017. 
Duff, Patrick. Interview with Michelle Craig McDonald and John O’Hara. Stockton Biographical 
Investigation Project, New Jersey Historic Preservation Office. Conducted in Camden, New 
Jersey, October 26, 2017. 
Hunt, Jeannette Lily M. Interview with Patrick Duff. Personal Interview. Conducted in Camden, 
NJ, January 19, 2015. Excerpted and transcribed by John O’Hara, June 21, 2017. 
Hunt, Jeannette Lily M. Interview with Michelle Craig McDonald and John O’Hara. Stockton 
Biographical Investigation Project, New Jersey Historic Preservation Office. Conducted in 
Camden, New Jersey, October 26, 2017. 
Lowery, Thelma. Interview with Patrick Duff.  Personal Interview. Conducted in Camden, NJ, 
December 1, 2017.  Transcribed by Michelle Craig McDonald, December 9, 2017. 
McCall, Walter.  Interview with Herbert Holmes. The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Center 
Oral History Project. Conducted in Atlanta, GA, 1970.   

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McMickle, Marvin and Thomas McDade Clay, Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, 
Stockton Biographical Investigation Project, New Jersey Historic Preservation Office.  Email 
correspondence with John O’Hara. Conducted from Galloway, New Jersey, June 7, 2017. 
 
Milton, Janet (and Julius).  Email interview with John O’Hara. Stockton Biographical 
Investigation Project, New Jersey Historic Preservation Office. Conduced from Galloway, New 
Jersey, October 26, 2017. 
Archival Sources Consulted (in person and online):
Camden County Deed Book: Sale of 753 Walnut Street from Sarah A. McCollum to Benjamin 
Hunt, Camden County Deed Book 1016:208, April 18, 1945. 
 
Camden County Historical Society: Camden vertical and photographic files. 
Camden County Tax Assessor’s Office: Individual Property Record Cards, 753 Walnut Street 
and 755 Walnut Street, Camden, New Jersey, 1958-59. 
 
Morehouse College: Martin Luther King, Jr. Collection. 
 
New Jersey State Archives, Trenton, New Jersey: Governor Alfred C. Driscoll, Records (Series 
I), 1947-1953, manuscript. 
 
Stanford University, King Papers, The Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute, 
Stanford, California. 
Primary Publications: 
A)  Newspapers/Periodicals: 
“Camden Bridge Ready for Work,” New York Times  (June 27, 1926). 
 
“Camden Bridge Traffic,” New York Times (May 7, 1927). 
 
“Indicted in Failing to Stop Rum Plot: Three Officers Accused of not Heeding Orders in Case of 
55 Jersey Bootleggers,”  
 
“NJ Innkeeper Held After Four Charge Refusal,” Philadelphia Tribune article, June 20, 1950. 
 
George Anastasia, “Ernest Nichols, 80, Bartender Recalled for King Incident,” The Philadelphia 
Inquirer
, January 17, 1976. 
 
Carrie B. Harper, “Atlanta News,” The Pittsburgh Courier, June 17, 1950. 
 
Charles Layne, “Rev. King Lauds on Strides to Integration,” The Philadelphia Tribune, October 
28, 1961. 

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J. Donald Porter, “Dr. Ulysses S. Wiggins Leader Among Camden Negro Citizens,” 
Philadelphia Tribune, January 29, 1957, p. 5. 
B)  Books/Volumes: 
Testimony of Martin Luther King, Jr.,” Hearings Before the Subcommittee on Executive 
Reorganization of the Committee on Government Operations, United States Senate, Eighty-Ninth 
Congress, Second Session, December 14 and 15, 1966, Part 14
. Washington D.C.: United States 
Government Printing Office, 1967. 2967-2982 (available online at: 
http://college.cengage.com/history/ayers_primary_sources/king_justice_1966.htm). 
Clayborne Carson, et. al. (eds.), The King Papers - Volumes 1-7 (with more volumes 
forthcoming), University of California Press. 
Martin Luther King, Jr. Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story. New York: Harper & 
Row Publishers, 1958. 
________. The Trumpet of Conscience. New York: Harper & Row Publishers, 1968. (Foreword 
by Coretta Scott King). 
________. Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? New York: Harper & Row 
Publishers, 1967. 
________. Why We Can’t Wait. James M. Washington (ed.). New York: Harper & Row 
Publishers, 1963. 
________. The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr., ed. Clayborne Carson. New York: 
IPM in Association with Warner Books, 1998. 
C)  Other: 
National Register of Historic Places, #73001626 [“Old Main”], designated June 18, 1973, 
https://npgallery.nps.gov/AssetDetail/NRIS/73001626 
“How to Apply the National Register Criteria for Evaluation,” National Register Bulletin 15, 
National Park Service, U.S. Department of Interior, 2002, 
http://www.nps.gov/nr/publications/bulletins/nrd15/  
New Jersey State Constitution, 1947, 
http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/lawsconstitution/constitution.asp 
 
Polk's Camden City Directory, including Audubon, Collingswood, Gloucester, Haddon Heights, 
Haddon Township, Haddonfield, Merchantville, Oaklyn, Pennsauken Township and Woodlynne
 
(New York: R. L. Polk & Co., 1940). 
 

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Polk's Camden City Directory, including Audubon, Collingswood, Gloucester, Haddon Heights, 
Haddon Township, Haddonfield, Merchantville, Oaklyn, Pennsauken Township and Woodlynne
 
(Pittsburgh: R. L. Polk & Co., 1943). 
Polk's Camden City Directory, including Audubon, Collingswood, Gloucester, Haddon Heights, 
Haddonfield, Merchantville, Oaklyn, and Woodlynne
 (Pittsburgh: R. L. Polk & Co., 1947). 
Sixteenth Decennial Federal Census (1940) for the City of Camden, N.J., Enumeration District 
22-47. Microform edition, roll T627-2394. National Archives and Records Administration,
Washington, D.C. 
State of New Jersey v. Ernest Nichols, Municipal Court Criminal Complaint, Township of Maple 
Shade, County of Burlington, New Jersey, June 12, 1950. 
“Testimony of Martin Luther King, Jr.,” Hearings Before the Subcommittee on Executive 
Reorganization of the Committee on Government Operations, United States Senate, Eighty-Ninth 
Congress, Second Session, December 14 and 15, 1966, Part 14
. Washington D.C.: United States 
Government Printing Office, 1967. 2967-2982, 
http://college.cengage.com/history/ayers primary sources/king justice 1966.htm 
D) Contemporary Newspaper Accounts:
“Civil Rights Icon . . . Visits Camden for Important Community Events,” Donald Norcross News 
and Media Center Press Release, September 19, 2016, https://norcross.house.gov/media-
center/press-releases/civil-rights-icon-congressman-john-lewis-visits-camden-important   
“Kean Urges Preservation of Camden House Where Dr. King Lived,” SenateNJ.com, September 
20, 2016, http://www.senatenj.com/index.php/tomkean/kean-urges-preservation-of-camden-
home-where-martin-luther-king-jr-lived/29117   
Christina Lobrutto, “Camden House Where MLK Once Stayed Could Become Civil Rights 
Headquarters,” PhillyVoice, February 15, 2015, http://www.phillyvoice.com/camden-house-mlk-
civil-rights-headquarters/   
Aaron Moselle, “Camden Man Fights to Save House Where Martin Luther King Stayed,” 
Newsworks.org online, NBC-10, February 15, 2015, 
http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/NJ-Man-Fights-to-Save-House-Where-Martin-
Luther-King-Jr-Stayed-291502631.html 
Ryanne Persinger, “Support Continues for Preservation of MLK Camden Home,” The 
Philadelphia Tribune
, August 23, 2016, http://www.phillytrib.com/news/support-continues-for-
preservation-of-mlk-camden-home/article_e593ffd6-5f90-5c8a-9f1f-f9d2936b8192.html  
Kevin C. Shelley, “Details uncovered about MLK’s former Camden home,” Courier-Post
February 17, 2015, http://www.courierpostonline.com/story/news/local/south-
jersey/2015/02/17/camden-home-part-history/23576021/ 

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Phaedra Tretham, “Norcross Offers Support in Preserving Camden Site,” Courier Post, August 
12, 2016, http://www.phillytrib.com/news/support-continues-for-preservation-of-mlk-camden-
home/article_e593ffd6-5f90-5c8a-9f1f-f9d2936b8192.html  
Steve Wood, “Preserving a Dream,” Courier-Post, January 11, 2011, 110+.  See also Jason 
Laday, “Camden House Where MLK Visited Now Occupied ‘by drug dealers and prostitutes,’” 
South Jersey Times via Nj.com, September 19, 2014, 
http://www.nj.com/camden/index.ssf/2014/09/camden_house_where_martin_luther_king_visited
now occupied by drug users and prostitutes.html 
Secondary Source Publications:
A) Newspaper Articles:
“The Most Dangerous Places in New Jersey, NJ.com (posted May 5, 2017), 
http://photos.nj.com/8001122/gallery/the_most_dangerous_places_in_nj/index.html 
Phil Anderson, “Remembering the Dream: A Pastor Shares Memories of His Experiences with 
Martin Luther King, Jr.,” The Topeka Capitol Journal, January 21, 2002, 
http://cjonline.com/stories/012102/com_mlk.shtml#.WUgd32jytPY 
June Dobbs Butts, “The Little-Known Story of MLK’s ‘Drum Major for Justice,’” Atlanta 
Journal Constitution
, October 16, 2011, online edition. 
Kirk Byron Jones, “King Had a Mentor in Chester,” Delaware County Daily Times, January 16, 
1989: http://www.oldchesterpa.com/famous_king_jr _martin_luther.htm, accessed 22 March 
2017. 
John Kopp, “Remembering a Legend: Chester Native Recalls Dinners with Martin Luther King, 
Jr.,” Delaware County Daily Times, January 16, 2011: 
http://www.delcotimes.com/article/DC/20110116/NEWS/301169999, accessed 22 March 2017.  
Jason Laday, “Camden House Where MLK Visited Now Occupied ‘by drug dealers and 
prostitutes,’” South Jersey Times via Nj.com, September 19, 2014; 
http://www.nj.com/camden/index.ssf/2014/09/camden_house_where_martin_luther_king_visited
_now_occupied_by_drug_users_and_prostitutes.html  
John Lott, “Remembering a Legend: Chester Native Recalls Dinners with Martin Luther King, 
Jr.,” Delaware County Times, January 16, 2011, 
http://www.delcotimes.com/article/DC/20110116/NEWS/301169999 
W. Thomas McGann, “King’s Camden Dispute Was Crucial,” New Jersey Lawyer (January 16,
1996): 6.
W. Thomas McGann, “The South Jersey Tavern Dispute Which Inspired Martin Luther King,”
New Jersey Lawyer (February 4, 1996): 24.

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Aaron Moselle, “Camden Man Fights to Save House Where Martin Luther King Stayed,” 
Newsworks.org online, NBC-10, February 15, 2015, 
http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/NJ-Man-Fights-to-Save-House-Where-Martin-
Luther-King-Jr-Stayed-291502631.html 
 
Kathleen O’Brian, “Black History Month: Integrating New Jersey’s Schools,” Star Ledger
February 1, 2008.  
 
Ashley Ross, “A Camden Address with a Link to Martin Luther King, Jr.,” The New York Times
January 15, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/15/nyregion/martin-luther-king-jr-camden-
new-jersey.html 
 
Eileen Stillwell, “City Man Housed Activist, Courier-Post, January 16, 1981, 1B, 3B. 
B)  Scholarly Articles: 
Ronald Becker, “Rutgers Manuscript Sources Relating to the African American Community in 
New Jersey,” The Journal of the Rutgers University Library, Vol. LVI, No. 1 (1994): 72-9. 
Clayborne Carson, “Martin Luther King, Jr.: The Morehouse Years,” The Journal of Blacks in 
Higher Education
, No. 15 (Spring 1997): 121-125. 
 
_______.  “Martin Luther King, Jr.: The Crozier Seminary Years,” The Journal of Blacks in 
Higher Education
, No. 16 (Summer 1997): 123-128. 
 
_______. “The Unexpected Emergence of Martin Luther King, Jr.,” Campus Report , 17 
(January 1996), https://swap.stanford.edu/20141218230000/http://mlk-
kpp01.stanford.edu/kingweb/additional_resources/articles/unexpected_emergence.htm  
 
_______. “The Unexpected Emergence of Martin Luther King, Jr.,” Campus Report , 17 
(January 1996), https://swap.stanford.edu/20141218230000/http://mlk-
kpp01.stanford.edu/kingweb/additional resources/articles/unexpected emergence.htm  
 
Clayborne Carson, Peter Holloran, Ralph E. Lurker, and Penny Russell, “Martin Luther King, Jr. 
as Scholar: A Reexamination of his Theological Writings in Becoming Martin Luther King, Jr.—
Plagiarism and Originality, a Roundtable,” Journal of American History, 78:1 (June 1991): 93-
105. 
 
David Garrow, “The Intellectual Development of Martin Luther King, Jr.: Influences and 
Commentary,” Union Seminary Quarterly Review 40 (January 1986): 5-20.  
http://www.davidgarrow.com/File/DJG%201986%20USQRMLK.pdf 
 
David Levering Lewis, “Failing to Know Martin Luther King, Jr.,” Journal of American History
78:1 (June 1991): 81-85. 

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Raymond S. Nickerson, “Confirmation Bias: A Ubiquitous Phenomenon in Many Guises,” 
Review of General Psychology 2.2 (1998): 175-220,  
http://pages.ucsd.edu/~mckenzie/nickersonConfirmationBias.pdf 
Maria S. Zaragoza, Kristie E. Payment, et al, “Interviewing Witnesses: Forced Confabulation 
and Confirmatory Feedback Strengthens False Memories,” Psychological Science 12.6 (2001): 
473-477. 
C)  Books/Volumes: 
Rodger D. Abrahams. Deep Down in the Jungle: Negro Narrative Folklore from the Streets of 
Philadelphia
. Chicago: Aldine Publishing Company, 1963, republished 1970. 
 
Peter Albert and Ronald Hoffman. We Shall Overcome: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Black 
Freedom Struggle
. New York: Da Capo Press, 1993. 
 
Lewis Baldwin. There is a Balm in Gilead: The Cultural Roots of Martin Luther King, Jr. 
Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1991. 
 
_______. To Make the Wounded Whole: The Cultural Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. 
Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1992. 
 
_______. Never to Leave Us Alone: The Prayer Life of Martin Luther King Jr. Minneapolis: 
Fortress Press, 2010. 
 
_______. The Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.: The Boundaries of Law, Politics, and Religion. 
Norte Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2002. 
 
_______. What Manner of Man; a Biography of Martin Luther King, Jr. Chicago: Johnson 
Publishing Co., Book Division, 1968. 
 
Lerone Bennett, Jr. What Manner of Man: A Biography of Martin Luther King, Jr. Chicago: 
Johnson Publishing Co., 1964. 
 
Taylor Branch. Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954-63. New York: Simon and 
Schuster, 1988. 
 
Clayborne Carson, “Editing Martin Luther King, Jr.: Political and Scholarly Issues,” in George 
Bornstein and Ralph G. Williams (eds.), Palimpest Editorial Theory in the Humanities (Ann 
Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1993). 
 
James H. Cone. Martin & Malcolm & America: A Dream or a Nightmare. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis 
Books, 1991. 
 
Lenwood G. Davis, I Have a DreamThe Life and Times of Martin Luther King, Jr. (Westport, 
CT: Greenwood Press, 1973). 
 

Bibliographical Investigation: MLK and 753 Walnut Street Final Report
50
Frederick L. Downing, To See the Promised Land: The Faith Pilgrimage of Martin Luther King, 
Jr.
, Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 1986. 
Jeffery M. Dorwart. Camden County, New Jersey: The Making of a Metropolitan Community, 
1626-2000
. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2001. 
Adam Fairclough. To Redeem the Soul of America: The Southern Christian Leadership 
Conference and Martin Luther King, Jr.
 Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1987. 
_______.  Martin Luther King, Jr. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1995. 
Marshall Frady. Martin Luther King, Jr. New York: Penguin Group, 2002. 
Michael Friedly and David Gallen (eds.). Martin Luther King, Jr.: The FBI File. New York: 
Carroll & Graf, 1993. 
David J. Garrow, Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Southern Christian 
Leadership Conference
, New York: Harper Collins, 2004. 
_______, ed. Martin Luther King, Jr.: Civil Rights Leader, Theologian, Orator. 3 vol. Brooklyn: 
Carlson Publishing, 1989. 
Howard Gilette.  Camden After the Fall: Decline and Renewal of a Post-Industrial City. 
Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005. 
Vincent Harding. Martin Luther King: The Inconvenient Hero. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 
1996. 
Wayne Glasker, Black Students in the Ivory Tower: African American Student Activism at the 
University of Pennsylvania, 1967-1990
, Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press, 2002. 
Thomas F. Jackson. From Civil Rights to Human Rights: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the 
Struggle for Economic Justice
. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007. 
Coretta Scott King. My Life with Martin Luther King, Jr. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 
1969. Revised edition copyright 1993 by Coretta Scott King. 
David L. Lewis. King: A Critical Biography. New York: Praeger, 1970. 
Keith D. Miller, Voice of Deliverance: The Language of Martin Luther King, Jr. and its Sources 
(New York: Free Press, 1992). 
Lawrence Dunbar Reddick. Crusader without Violence: A Biography of Martin Luther King, Jr. 
New York: Harper, 1959. 
Stephen B. Oates. Let The Trumpet Sound: The Life of Martin Luther King, Jr. New York: 
Harper & Row, 1982. 

Bibliographical Investigation: MLK and 753 Walnut Street Final Report
51
Kenneth L. Smith and Ira G. Zepp.  Search for the Beloved Community: The Thinking of Martin 
Luther King, Jr. 
(Valley Forge: Judson Press, 1975). 
Fredrik Summemark. Ring Out Freedom!: The Voice of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Making 
of the Civil Rights Movement
. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2004. 
Brian Ward and Tony Badger.  The Making of Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights 
Movement.
  New York: New York University Press, 1996. 
Andrew Young. An Easy Burden: The Civil Rights Movement and the Transformation of 
America
. New York: HarperCollins, 1996. 
Unpublished Papers, Theses, and Dissertations:
Drexel Timothy Brunson, “The Quest for Social Justice: A Study of Walter Rauschenbusch and 
his influence on Reinhold Niebuhr and Martin Luther King, Jr.” Ph.D. Dissertation, Florida State 
University, 1980. 
John Gary Daynes, “Making History: Joseph R. McCarthy, Martin Luther King, Jr., and the 
Place of the Past in American Public Life.” Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Delaware, 1995. 
James Aaron Frith, “The Manger of the Movement: Atlanta and the Black Freedom Struggle, 
1890-1950.” Yale University, 1997. 
Ronnie Wade Hood, II, “Love in the Crucible: The Spirituality of Martin Luther King, Jr.” New 
Orleans Theological Baptist Seminary, 2002. 
Troy Thomas Jackson, “Born in Montgomery: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Struggle for Civil 
Rights in Montgomery, 1948-1960.” Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Kentucky, 2006. 
Rebecca Karol, “Mary’s Café, Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Forgotten Beginnings of a Civil 
Rights Leader,” unpublished student paper, Rowan University, n.d. 
Konstantina Nikopoulos, “W.E.B Dubois (1868-1963), Martin Luther King, Jr., (1929-1968) and 
the FBI’s Historic Abuse of the Civil Rights of Two Leaders of the Civil Rights Movement.” 
Master’s Thesis, University of Houston, Clear Lake, 2003.  
William Anthony Thurston, “Justice born through Struggle: Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X 
(El-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz) and Angela Yvonne Davis.” Ph.D. Dissertation, Emory University, 
1995. 


Bibliographical Investigation: MLK and 753 Walnut Street Final Report
52
Appendix A:
Property Report Cards: 753-­‐755 Walnut Street, Camden, New Jersey (1958-­‐9)
Sanborn Map of the 700 Block of Walnut Street (1950)




Bibliographical Investigation: MLK and 753 Walnut Street Final Report
54

Bibliographical Investigation: MLK and 753 Walnut Street Final Report
55
Appendix B:
700 Walnut Street, Camden, New Jersey City Block Reconstruction
700 Block of Walnut Street, Camden, NJ, Odd Side of the Street 
1947 Polk Directory 
1940 Federal Decennial Census 
1958/59 
No. 
Occupants 
Ownership 
Name 
Relation 
Race 
Age 
701 
Herman’s Second 
Renter 
Head 

52 
Hand Furniture 
Edward Beamon 
Joseph L. Fletcher 
Renter 
Ralph F. 
Head 

35 
Thompson 
Mrs. Rose Langford 
Renter 
William S. 
Head 

69 
Robinson 
Ernest D. Chaney 
Renter 
Ida Robinson 
Wife 

49 
Renter 
Willie Jones  
Head 

44 
Renter 
Leatha R. Jones 
Wife 

30 
Johnson: 206 
Renter 
Herbert Johnson 
Head 

23 
Walnut? 
Renter 
Luther Langford 
Head 

36 
Rose Langford 
Wife 

29 
703 
Mrs. Sallie B. Steele 
Owner 
Renter 
Lillian Robinson 
Head 

54 
Marie Williams 
Daughter 

35 
Florence Short 
Daughter 

34 
Alice Hartnell 
Lodger 

16 
Alice Williams 
Granddaughter 

13 
Adams: no listing 
Thomas Adams 
Lodger 

12 
Do 
Matthew Adams 
Lodger 


Loreace 
Lodger 


Hammond 
Russell Wright 
Lodger 

53 
Clarence Short 
S-I-L

32 
Alfred O. 
Lodger

3/12 
Hartnell 
705 
Mrs. Mildred A. 
Renter 
Mildred Taylor 
Head 

42 
Taylor 
Mildred Taylor 
Daughter 

21 
John E. Taylor 
Son 

19 
Edward Taylor 
Son 

18 
Bertha Holland 
Mother 

68 
707 
William A. 
Thompson 
Renter 
Charles Schultz 
Head 

57 
Adeline Shultz 
Wife 

55 
Catherine Shultz 
Daughter 

28 
George Schultz 
Son 

30 
709 
Olie Houston 
Owner 
Ephraim Wallen 
Head 

70 
Sidney Evans 
Anna W. Zihn 
Sister 

77 
Mrs. Alma Harris 
Anna S. Solley 
Housekeeper 

64 
711 
Nathan W. Reed 
Renter 
Nathan Reed 
Head 

43 

Bibliographical Investigation: MLK and 753 Walnut Street Final Report
56
 
Reed’s Beauty Shop 
 
Naomi Reed 
Wife 

34 
 
 
 
 
Charles Newton 
Lodger 

57 
 
 
 
 
Mary Lee 
M-I-L 

56 
 
713 
Christian Baumann, 
Owner 
Christian Bauman 
Head 

71 
 
cement contractor 
 
 
 
Mary Bauman 
Wife 

70 
 
715 
Harry Albert 
Owner 
Harry P. Albert 
Head 

45 
 
 
 
 
Fannie Albert 
Wife 

40 
 
 
 
 
Samuel Albert 
Son 

14 
 
 
 
 
Bernard Albert 
Son 

13 
 
 
 
 
Alexander Friday 
Lodger 

33 
 
717 
Howard W. Ways 
Owner 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Patterson: 623 Elm 
Renter 
Calvin Patterson 
Head 

39 
 
 
Do 
 
Viola M. 
Wife 

38 
 
Patterson 
 
Do 
 
Calvin J. 
Son 

17 
 
Patterson 
 
Do 
 
Ruth Patterson 
Daughter 

14 
 
 
Do 
 
Viola D. 
Daughter 

13 
 
Patterson 
 
Do 
 
Elizabeth 
Daughter 

10 
 
Patterson 
 
Do 
 
Warren Patterson 
Son 


 
719 
Alf B. Long 
Owner 
Alfred Long 
Head 

59 
 
 
 
 
Laura Long 
Wife 

52 
 
 
 
 
Erma Long 
Daughter 

16 
 
721 
Virgil Harrison 
Owner 
Virgil Harrison 
 

26 
 
 
Mrs. Madge 
Owner 
Matthew Whalen 
Head 

39 
 
Calloway 
 
Whalen: 2836 Idaho 
 
Johanna Whalen 
Wife 

48 
 
 
Do 
 
Lois Whalen 
Daughter 


 
 
Do 
 
James Whalen 
Son 


 
 
 
 
John Dotter 
B-I-L 

45 
 
 
 
 
William Dotter 
B-I-L 

39 
 
723 
Firpo’s Cleaners 
Owner 
Harry Godfrey 
Head 

63 
 
 
Moses Lee 
 
Dara Godfrey 
Wife 

57 
 
 
 
 
Morris Godfrey 
Son 

37 
 
 
 
 
Albert Godfrey 
Son 

33 
 
725 
William Holmes 
Renter 
Charlie Mims 
Head 

39 
 
 
Mims: 724 Walnut 
 
Lillie Mims 
Wife 

29 
 
 
 
 
Willie Stone 
Head 

32 
 
727 
Dr. Merton B. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Anderson 
 
Mrs. Bessie A. 
Owner 
Bessie A. Branch 
Head 

61 
 
Branch 
 
 
 
Mamie A. 
Sister 

56 
 
Harrison 
 
Godfrey: no listing 
 
Margaret Godfrey 
Lodger 

26 
 
 
Carter: 636 Royden 
 
Margaret Carter 
Lodger 

22 
 
 
Porter: no listing 
 
Clementh Porter 
Lodger 

25 
 
729 
Earl J. Matthews 
Owner 
Earl Matthews 
Head 

27 
 

Bibliographical Investigation: MLK and 753 Walnut Street Final Report
57
Frances 
Wife 

21 
Matthews 
Earl Matthews Jr. 
Son 


731 
Edward L. Ashley 
Owner 
Owner 
Anara Loricy 
Head 

70 
Norman Loricy 
Son 

58 
Katherine Loricy 
Daughter 

35 
733 
 
735 
Constance Chase 
Owner 
Bumbrey: no listing 
Charlotte 
Head 

28 
Bumbrey 
Robert Bumbrey 
Son 

6/12 
737 
Edward W. Graham 
Owner 
739 
Rev. Joseph L. Russ 
Owner 
Graham: 737 Walnut 
Renter 
Edward Graham  
Head 

56 
Elizabeth Graham 
Wife 

48 
Do 
John Graham 
Son 

28 
Esther Graham 
Daughter 

10 
Graham: 629 
Walter Graham 
Son 


Randolph 
741 
Charles C. Showell 
Owner 
Charles Showell 
Head 

51 
same 
Virginia Showell 
Wife 

50 
Ron P. Wilson 
Lodger 

56 
743 
David Tailor, hat 
Owner 
cleaner 
Renter 
Emma Watson 
Head 

41 
Watson: 524 Cedar 
Laura Watson 
Daughter 

18 
Watson: no listing 
Martin Watson 
Son 

17 
Do 
John Watson 
Son 

16 
Do 
Katherine Watson 
Daughter 

13 
Do 
Muriel Watson 
Daughter 

11 
Boss: no listing 
Edward Boss 
S-I-L

22 
Do 
Gertrude Boss 
Daughter 

21 
Edward Boss Jr. 
Grandson 

5/12 
745 
Howard Smith 
Renter 
David Sterling 
Head 

58 
Mabel Sterling 
Wife 

50 
Sterling: no listing 
Walter Sterling 
Son 

30 
Do 
Jesse Sterling 
Son 

27 
Do 
Adonis Sterling 
Son 

19 
Do 
Sara Sterling 
Daughter 

17 
Do 
Edgar Sterling 
Son 

14 
Do 
Mabel Sterling  
Daughter 

13 
Do 
William Sterling 
Son 

10 
Do 
John Sterling 
Son 


Mary Thompson 
Aunt 

78 
747 
Davis Starling 
Owner 
Edgar 
Starling 
Renter 
C. John Simmons
Head 

63 
Simmons: 730 
Violetta Simmons
Daughter 

32 
Chestnut 
Simmons: no listing 
John B. Simmons 
Son 

30 

Bibliographical Investigation: MLK and 753 Walnut Street Final Report
58
 
Do 
 
Mary Simmons 
Daughter 

28 
 
 
Do 
 
Leon Simmons 
Son 

20 
 
 
Do 
 
Clement 
Son 

17 
 
Simmons 
 
Do 
 
Ernest Simmons 
Son 

14 
 
 
Collins: 730 Chestnut 
 
Charles Collins 
Son 

17 
 
749 
Alf A. Jackson 
Owner 
Alfred Jackson 
Head 

59 
 
 
 
 
Pricilla Jackson  
Wife 

59 
same 
 
Holland: no listing 
 
George Holland 
S-I-L 

28 
 
 
Do 
 
Nancy Holland 
Daughter 

29 
 
 
Do 
 
Richard Holland 
Grandson 


 
 
Do 
 
George Holland 
Grandson 


 
 
Do 
 
Irwin Holland 
Grandson 


 
 
Do 
 
Nancy Holland 
Granddaughter 

3/12 
 
 
Do 
 
Henry Holland 
S-I-L’s Brother 

21 
 
 
 
 
Sara Anne Handy 
M-I-L 

76 
 
751 
Mrs. Lucinda A. 
Renter 
Eddie Blair 
Head 

46 
same 
Reddick 
 
 
 
Emma Blair 
Wife 

35 
 
 
Blair: no listing 
 
Eddie Blair 
Son 

12 
 
 
 
 
Maranda Young 
Lodger 

53 
 
753 
Benjamin Hunt 
Owner 
 
 
 
 
No 
surname 
 
Laws: 647 Walnut 
Renter 
Antonio Laws 
Head 

55 
 
 
Do 
 
Estella Laws 
Wife 

45 
 
 
Do 
 
Charles Brooks 
Son 

14 
 
 
Do 
 
Arona Laws 
Daughter 


 
 
Do 
 
Leroy Laws 
Son 


 
 
Do 
 
Shirley Laws 
Daughter 


 
 
 
 
King Comfort 
Lodger 

80 
 
 
 
 
Anna Comfort 
Lodger 

69 
 
755 
Earl H. Bundy 
Renter 
Rebecca 
Head 

33 
No 
Somerville 
surname 
 
Harry W. Ford 
 
Jodie Fletcher 
Lodger 

35 
 
 
Wise: 707 Central 
 
Elizabeth Wise 
Lodger 

23 
 
 
Somerville: no listing 
 
Zeldia Somerville 
Daughter 

13 
 
 
McCain: 1024 S. 8th 
 
Booker McCain 
Lodger 

26 
 
757 
 
 
 
 
 
 
vacant 
759 
Henry E. Snead 
Owner 
Franklin P. Roth 
Head 

85 
Ernest 
Calloway 
 
 
 
Cecilia E. Roth 
Sister 

76 
 
761 
Oriental Lounge 
 
 
 
 
 
Ernest 
Calloway 
763 
Daniel B. Reigel 
Renter 
Viola Blevins 
Head 

45 
 
 
Mrs. Elizabeth Wood 
 
Elizabeth Wood 
Sister 

42 
 
 
 
 
Boyd Reigel 
Lodger 

50 
 
 
Wood?: not here 
 
John Wood 
Nephew 

27 
 
765 
Tony’s Market 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Percell K. Clary 
 
 
 
 
 
 
767 
Carter & Holland, 
Owner 
Elsie Simpson 
Head 

 
 
Real Estate 

Bibliographical Investigation: MLK and 753 Walnut Street Final Report
59
Merrill V. Holland 
Owner 
Eleanor Simpson 
Daughter 

Charles W. Carter 
Wilhelmina 
Daughter 

Simpson 
Christine Silver 
Daughter 

787 
Renter 
Morris O. Lee 
Head 

57 
Madge Lee 
Wife 

48 
Fortune: no listing 
Evelyn Fortune 
Lodger 

25 
700 Block of Walnut Street, Camden, NJ, Even Side of the Street 
1947 Polk Directory 
1940 Federal Decennial Census 
1958/59 
No. 
Occupants 
Ownership 
Name  
Relation 
Race 
Age 
700 
Henry Jackson 
Jackson’s 
Luncheonette 
Joseph 
Head 

53 
Szymanski 
Szymanski: no 
Francis 
Son 

23 
listing 
Szymanski 
702 
Henry P. Coleman 
Renter 
Annie Brown 
Head 

53 
Murray: 1157 
George Murray 
S-I-L

27 
Baring 
Viola Murray 
Daughter 

26 
Marion Brown 
Granddaughter 

12 
704 
Edward Fussell 
Owner 
Renter 
John Battles 
Head 

48 
Irene Battles 
Wife 

52 
Norris: no listing 
Louella Norris 
Daughter 

22 
Do 
Theodore Norris 
S-I-L
706 
Owner 
Joseph F. 
Head

57 
Reinhart 
Emma B. 
Wife 

48 
Reinhart 
708 
Joseph F. Reinhart 
Owner 
Joseph F. 
Head 

57 
Reinhart 
Emma B. 
Wife 

48 
Reinhart 
710 
Mrs. Anna Alber 
Renter 
William J. Alber 
Head 

61 
Anna E. Alber 
Wife 

56 
712 
William Tyler 
Owner 
Renter 
William Tyler 
Head 

33 
Tyler: no listing 
Elnora Tyler 
Wife 

25 
714 
Mrs. Clara Morris 
Millard Wallace 
Renter 
Alice Thompson 
Head 

31 
Jones: no listing 
Renter 
Elizabeth Jones 
Head 

20 
Keyes: no listing 
Renter 
Roosevelt Keyes 
Head 

31 
Do 
Maxwell Keyes 
Brother 

26 
Renter 
Norman Brown 
Head 

45 

Bibliographical Investigation: MLK and 753 Walnut Street Final Report
60
Ethel Brown 
Wife 

40 
Harris: 1149 Baring 
Renter 
Minnie Harris 
Head 

29 
or 702 Chestnut  
Renter 
Aldophus 
Head 

40 
McSaity 
716 
Isaac Kader, shoe 
Owner 
Isaac Kader 
Head 

60 
repairs 
Renter 
Irene Johnson 
Head 

19 
Johnson: 729 Cherry 
Renter 
Carlton Johnson 
Head 

27 
Anna Johnson 
Wife 

25 
Renter 
Eva C. Hawkins 
Head 

50 
Odessa Hawkins 
S-I-L

30 
Sadler:726-728 
Luther Sadler 
Nephew 

28 
Cherry  
Johnson: no listing 
Renter 
Esther Johnson 
Head 

25 
Johnson: 921 
Renter 
Hazel Johnson 
Head 

19 
Chestnut 
Renter 
Marian Simpson 
Head 

41 
Simpson: no listing 
Albine Simpson 
Son 


Elba Simpson 
Daughter 


Renter 
Jesse Bratman 
Head 

35 
Renter 
Rex Warthy 
Head 

37 
Katie Warthy 
Wife 

30 
718 
Leonard Larton 
Owner 
Melvin Oglesby 
Head 

38 
Jessie Oglesby 
Wife 

37 
Oglesby: same 
David Oglesby 
Son 

16 
address 
Cores: no listing 
Peter Cores 
Lodger 

15 
Reader: no listing 
Victor Reader 
Lodger 

13 
West: no listing 
Edward West 
Lodger 


720 
 
722 
John W. Ways 
Owner 
724 
Charles Mims 
Owner 
Renter 
Bessie Turner 
Head 

44 
Katherine 
Daughter 

21 
Turner 
Turner: 1119 Marion 
Lillian Turner 
Daughter 

20 
Daniel Cooper 
Lodger 

60 
726 
Mrs. Willie M. 
Owner 
Harris 
Renter 
Thomas Sinclair 
Head 

41 
Gertrude 
Sister 

40 
Sinclair 
728 
Richard Edmonds 
Owner 
Philip P. 
Head 

60 
Fletcher 
Ada Fletcher 
Wife 

59 
Emma Paterson 
Lodger 

64 
730 
Franklin Brown 
Owner 
Renter 
Frances Casselle 
Head 

46 
Casselle: no listing 
Wadsworth 
Son 

22 

Bibliographical Investigation: MLK and 753 Walnut Street Final Report
61
Casselle 
 
Do 
 
??? Casselle 
Son 

22 
 
 
Do 
 
Theresa Casselle 
D-I-L 

21 
 
 
Hemmons: no listing   
Francis  
Daughter 

21 
 
Hemmons 
 
Do 
 
John Hemmons 
Grandson 


 
 
 
 
Byron Davis 
Lodger 

41 
 
732 
Mrs. Kath Turner 
Owner 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Morton:  
Renter 
Madison Morton 
Head 

52 
 
734 Chestnut  
 
 
 
Caroline Morton 
Daughter 

20 
 
 
 
 
Madison Morton 
Son 

13 
 
Jr. 
 
 
 
Jackeline 
Daughter 

11 
 
Morton  
 
 
 
Naomi Morton 
Daughter 


 
 
 
 
Ernest Morton 
Son 


 
 
 
 
Anna B. Morton 
Mother 

63 
 
734 
Michael Albert 
Owner 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Owner 
Anna Albert 
Head 

75 
 
 
 
 
Alexander G. 
Son 

37 
 
Albert 
 
 
 
Michael Albert 
Son 

35 
 
736 
Mrs. Evelyn Allen 
Owner 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Owner 
Isaac Merritt 
Head 

47 
 
 
 
 
Beulla Merritt  
Wife 

39 
 
 
Merritt: 2026 S. 7th 
 
Dozer Merritt 
Son 

21 
 
 
Johnson: no listing 
 
Nathaniel 
Nephew 

10 
 
Johnson 
 
 
 
Mary Merritt 
Mother 

67 
 
738 
Powder Puff Beauty 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Shop 
 
Mrs. Naomi Jones 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Renter 
Edward Ashley 
Head 

37 
 
 
 
 
Estella Ashley 
Wife 

35 
 
 
Ashley: 731 Walnut 
 
Edward Ashley 
Son 

15 
 
 
Do 
 
Charles Ashley 
Son 

14 
 
740 
Paul McNair 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Merritt: no listing 
Renter 
Samuel Merritt 
Head 

24 
 
 
Do 
 
Laubernia 
Wife 

23 
 
Merritt 
 
Do 
 
Earl Merritt 
Son 


 
 
Lewis: 833 Chestnut 
 
Jessie Lewis 
Lodger 

25 
 
742 
Reginald D. Hilton 
Owner 
 
 
 
 
Jordan 
 
 
Renter 
Helen Anderson 
Head 

33 
 
 
Anderson: 504 Penn 
 
Thomas 
Son 

21 
 
Anderson 
 
Anderson: 842 S. 8th 
 
Hazel Anderson 
Son 

20 
 
 
 
 
Sadie Jones 
Mother 

65 
 
744 
Wilton H. Billups 
Owner 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Renter 
H. Wilton 
Head 

37 
 

Bibliographical Investigation: MLK and 753 Walnut Street Final Report
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Billups 
Marion Billups 
Wife 

32 
McCurley: no listing 
Lawrence 
Son 

13 
McCurley 
746 
Ezekiel T. Warren 
Huggins: no listing 
Renter 
Thomas 
Head 

26 
Huggins 
Do 
E. Frances
Wife 

19 
Huggins
Thomas: no listing? 
Robert Thomas
B-I-L

17 
Joseph Davis
Lodger

30 
Vivian Davis
Lodger’s wife 

27 
748 
Mrs. Helen T. 
Laramore 
Demby 
Renter 
Herbert Tufts 
Head 

40 
Sudella Tufts 
Wife 

44 
Gray: no listing 
Eulalia Gray 
Daughter 

16 
750 
Renter 
Bertha Allen 
Head 

47 
vacant 
Clennell 
S-I-L

36 
Richards 
Fannie Richards 
Daughter 

32 
Richards: no listing 
Desmond 
Grandson 

16 
Richards 
Allen: no listing 
Betty Allen 
Daughter 

15 
Richards: no listing 
Theresa 
Granddaughter 

15 
Richards 
Richards: no listing 
Ruth Richards 
Granddaughter 

12 
Edward Dorothy 
Cousin 

51 
752 
William Copeland 
vacant 
754 
Mrs. Florence 
Owner 
Florence 
Head 

65 
Mrs. 
Hoffman 
Hoffman 
McChanney 
Jessie Hoffman 
Daughter 

30 
Ruth Hoffman 
Daughter 

30 
Russel Sweeten 
Lodger 

50 
Shirley Hoffman 
Grandchild 


756 
Lawrence O’Bryant 
same 
Renter 
James Mitchell 
Head 

33 
Blanche Faicon 
Lodger 

47 
758 
Mrs. Augustina 
Owner 
Augustina Bock 
Head 

59 
same 
Bock 
Michael 
Lodger 

48 
Brzezenski 
760 
Reuben J. Potter 
Owner 
Reuben Potter 
Head 

42 
762 
Hermann Somerville 
Azalea Potter 
Wife 

41 
Renter 
Lydia Mopp 
Head 

52 
Mopp: no listing 
James Mopp 
Son 

15 
Do 
Cara Mopp 
Daughter 

18 
Do 
Laura Mopp 
Daughter 

17 
Do 
Edith Mopp 
Daughter 

12 
Lulu Potter 
Daughter 

23 
Constance D. 
Granddaughter 



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Potter 
 
 
 
Maurice Potter 
Grandson 

9/12 
 
764 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
766 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
768 
Mrs. Pearl Edmonds 
Owner 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Renter 
John Dobson 
Head 

57 
 
770 
Mrs. Madeline 
Owner 
Mary Stevenson 
Head 

70 
 
Stevenson 
 
 
 
Mamie Davis 
Daughter 

42 
 
 
 
 
Rena Carter 
Daughter 

55 
 
 
 
 
Stella Stevenson 
Daughter 

30 
 
 
Davis: same address 
 
Hiram Davis 
S-I-L 

34 
 
 
 
 
Hiram Davis 
Grandson 


 
 
 
 
Barbara 
Daughter 


 
Stevenson 
 
Mrs. Mamie Davis 
 
 
 
 
 
 
772 
Frank E. Anderson 
 
 
 
 
 
 
774 
Nelson J. Boyd 
Owner 
Nelson J. Boyd 
Head 

43 
 
 
 
 
Bertha Boyd 
Wife 

39 
 
 
 
 
Hattie Boyd 
Daughter 

25 
 
 
Boyd: same address 
 
William Boyd 
Son 

24 
 
 
Boyd: 767 Chestnut 
 
Jerome Boyd 
Son 

21 
 
 
 
 
Sadie Boyd 
Daughter 

20 
 
 
Boyd: same address 
 
Nelson Boyd Jr. 
Son 

13 
 
 
 
 
Elaine Boyd 
Daughter 


 
 
McCall: no listing 
 
Moses McCall 
B-I-L 

27 
 
 
Do 
 
Frank McCall 
B-I-L 

32 
 
776 
Philip Johnson 
Renter 
Ida Williams 
Head 

29 
 
 
Williams: no listing 
 
Robert L. 
Son 


 
Williams 
 
Do 
 
Vivian F. 
Daughter 


 
Williams 
 
Do 
 
Elizabeth 
Daughter 


 
Williams 
 
Jones: 397 Morse 
 
Norma Jones 
Lodger 

28 
 
778 
Mrs. Fannie E. 
Owner 
 
 
 
 
 
Barber 
 
 
Renter 
Garrison Wise 
Head 

45 
 
 
 
 
Rosa Wise 
Wife 

33 
 
 
Wise: no listing 
 
James Wise 
Son 

16 
 
 
Hack: no listing 
 
Lillian Hack 
Niece 

14 
 
780 
Mrs. Cath G. Keaton   
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Renter 
Ruth Carter 
Head 

43 
 
 
Carter: no listing 
 
Bernice Carter 
Daughter 

18 
 
782 
Charles A. Roberts 
Owner 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Owner 
Edward Kemble 
Head 

55 
 
 
 
 
Clara Kemble 
Wife 

53 
 
784 
Carl B. Weaver 
Renter 
Carl Weaver 
Head 

37 
 
 
 
 
Helen Weaver 
Wife 

37 
 
 
 
 
Barbara Weaver 
Daughter 


 
786 
American Stores 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Co., grocers 
 
Marks: 1058 Louis 
Renter 
Wesley Marks 
Head 

37 
 
 
 
 
Anna Marks 
Wife 

21 
 
 
 
 
Bernice Marks 
Daughter 


 
 
 
 
Estellla Sudge 
Lodger 

34 
 
 
NOTE: Compiled from Polk’s Camden City Directory for 1947, along with the 1940 federal 
decennial census, and the individual property record cards from 1958-59. 

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Appendix C:
Timeline of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Activity (June 1948-­‐May 1951)
The principal source for the following timeline is Clayborne Carson, et al.’s The Papers of Martin 
Luther King, Jr. Volume I: Called to Serve, January 1929-June 1951, 
specifically pages 87 through 
90.107  This information as supplemented by information derived from a variety of digitized 
newspaper databases.  
The source for an entry below should be assumed to be the Carson volume unless a different source 
is footnoted and cited. 
1948 
Summer 
Martin L. King Jr. (MLK Jr.) serves as associate pastor of Ebenezer Baptist 
Church (Atlanta).108 
June/July 
MLK Jr., along with June Dobbs, youngest daughter of the Rev. John Wesley 
Dobbs, work for Dr. Ira DeA. Reid interviewing southern black Baptist 
ministers in and around Atlanta. The project included an initial two-week 
training session at Haverford College (Reid’s new employer as of 1946) along 
with 25 other young people, primarily seminarians.109 Apparently the survey 
and interview work continued at least two years, for in the chronology entry 
(below) from 23 July 1950, The Pittsburgh Courier reported on the survey 
work two years after when June Dobbs Butts noted it began. Reid published 
the results of the survey in 1951, titled, The Negro Baptist Ministry: An 
Analysis of Its Profession, Preparation and Practices.
110 
1 August 
MLK Jr. delivers sermon at Ebenezer’s evening service. 
8 August 
Walter R. McCall delivers sermon at Ebenezer’s morning service and MLK 
Jr. preaches in the evening. 
22 August 
MLK Jr. preaches at Ebenezer’s morning service. 
5 September 
MLK Jr. preaches at Ebenezer. 
11-12 September
MLK Jr. spends the weekend in New York City with his sister, Christine, a 
first-year graduate student at Columbia University. 
107 Clayborne Carson, et al. (eds), The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr. Volume I: Called to Serve, January 1929-
June 1951 
(Berkeley and Los Angeles, Ca.: University of California Press, 1992). 
108 Carson, et al., The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr. Vol. 1, pp. 87-90. 
109 June Dobbs Butts, “The Little-Known Story of MLK’s ‘Drum Major for Justice,’” Atlanta Journal Constitution
October 16, 2011, online edition. 
110 Clayborne Carson, et al., The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr. Volume IV: Symbol of the Movement, January 
1957-December 1958.
 (Berkeley and Los Angeles, Ca.: University of California Press, 2000), p. 116n. 

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14 September 
MLK Jr. begins classes at Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, 
Pennsylvania. Courses taken include Public Speaking, Preaching Ministry of 
the Church, Introduction to the Old Testament, Orientation for Juniors, Choir, 
and Church Music. 
24 November 
Crozer term ends. 
30 November 
Crozer new term begins; MLK Jr. takes Great Theologians, the History and 
Literature of the New Testament, Preparation of the Sermon, and Public 
Speaking. 
1949 
16 February 
Crozer term ends. 
20 February 
MLK Jr. delivers the annual youth day sermon at Ebenezer. 
22 February 
Crozer new term begins; MLK Jr. enrolls in Christian Mysticism, Practice 
Preaching, and Public Speaking. 
23 February 
“The fourth meeting of the Saturday Night Frolic Club’s Teen Talk program 
will be addressed by L.M. King [sic], student at Crozer Theological 
Seminary. The meeting will be held this evening at the West Branch YMCA 
[Chester].”111 
 5 March 
The Chester Times announced that “Walter R. McCall, student at Crozer 
Theological Seminary, and graduate of Morehouse College, Atlanta, Ga., will 
be the speaker on the West Branch YMCA’s program, Sunday Meditations, 
over station WPWA at 9:30 a.m. Sunday.”112 This newspaper notice confirms 
that McCall had joined MLK Jr. and entered Crozer as a student, where he 
also served as the resident dormitory barber. 
 
9 March 
“The Missionary Society of Calvary Baptist Church, Second and Baker sts. 
[Chester] is observing its 40th anniversary with special services each night 
this week at the church, in honor of the memory of Mrs. Rosella Wood. The 
society bears the name of this pioneer woman of Calvary. Missionary Group 
No. 3, Mrs. Elsie Pierce, leader, is sponsor of the service this evening, with 
Rev. Martin L. King, of Crozer Theological Seminary, as the speaker.”113 
 
20 March 
“Next Sunday will be young people’s day at Spruce Street Baptist church 
[Nashville] during the 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. services. The guest speaker will be 
the Rev. M. L. King of Chester, Pa.”114 
111 “Frolic Club to Hear Crozer Student,” 23 February 1949 edition, Chester Times, p. 4. 
 
112 “Crozer Student on Sunday Meditations,” 5 March 1949 edition, Chester Times, p. 8. 
 
113 Helen Hunt, “Helen Hunt Reports,” 9 March 1949 edition, Chester Times, p. 16. 
114 W.H. Shackleford, “Happenings Among Colored People,” The Tennessean (Nashville), March 20, 1949 p. 59. 

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12 April 
“The Holy Week emphasis is being fostered at the West Branch YMCA 
[Chester] this week with a series of services, featuring speakers and Easter 
music, each evening at 7:30. [April 13]Wednesday—“My God, My God, 
Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?” Matt. 27:46. Rev. M. L. King, student at 
Crozer Seminary.”115 
6 May 
Crozer term ends. 
10 May 
Crozer Commencement.116 
Summer 
MLK Jr. serves as assistant pastor of Ebenezer. 
12 June 
MLK Jr. preaches in the morning at Atlanta’s Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church 
and in the evening at Ebenezer. 
2 July 
“MEMPHIS, Tenn.—The forty-fourth annual session of the Sunday School 
and Baptist Training Union Congress presented a far-reaching program which 
included a school of methods for Christian leadership in a world of 
democracy.…The inspirational addresses were delivered by a group of well-
trained ministers embracing several styles and by some of the denomination’s 
strongest pastors. Particularly significant were the contents or seulements in 
the addresses, the youthful M.L. King of Atlanta, a student from Crozier [sic
Seminary, Chester, Pa., and the Rev. R. L. Taylor, pastor of Second Baptist 
Church, South Richmond, Va.”117 
3 July 
MLK Jr. delivers a sermon on “The Voice of Hope” at Ebenezer. 
31 July 
MLK Jr. preaches “The Two Challenging Questions” at Ebenezer. 
14 August 
MLK Jr. is the youth day speaker at Zion Hill Baptist Church in Atlanta. 
4 September 
MLK Jr. preaches “The Great Paradox” in the morning and “The Significance 
of the Cross” in the evening at Ebenezer. 
13 September 
Classes begin at Crozer; MLK Jr. enrolls in Public Worship, Greek Religion, 
and Christian Theology for Today. Later that year he is named chairman of 
the student body’s devotional committee. 
26 September 
MLK Jr. begins auditing a course, the Philosophy of History, at the 
University of Pennsylvania. 
115 “Holy Week Rites Being Held at West Branch ‘Y’,” Chester Times, April 12, 1949, p. 5. 
116 “Crozer Seminary Baccalaureate Sermon Sunday,” Chester Times, May 7, 1949, p. 3. 
117 B.H. Logan, Courier Religious Editor, “’Christian Democracy’ Goal Set by Baptists,” The Pittsburgh Courier
July 2, 1949, p. 2. 

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8 November 
MLK Jr. hears A.J. Muste defend pacifism in a lecture at Crozer.118 
23 November 
Crozer term ends. 
29 November 
Crozer new term begins; MLK Jr. enrolls in Preaching Problems, Pastoral 
Counseling, Conduct of Church Services, the Development of Christian Ideas 
I, and Christian Theology for Today.
23 December 
MLK Jr. returns to Atlanta to spend the Christmas and New Year’s Day 
holiday with his family. According to his later published account, MLK Jr. 
spends Christmas vacation reading Karl Marx, and he “carefully scrutinizes” 
Das Kapital and The Communist Manifesto. 
1950 
2 January 
MLK Jr. returns to Crozer. 
7 January 
“The Rev. M. L. King Jr., son of the Rev. and Mrs. M. L. King, spent the 
Christmas holidays here with his parents. He is attending Crozer Seminary in 
Chester, Pa., and also taking classes at the University of Pennsylvania. His 
sister, Miss Christine King, who is taking business administration at 
Columbia University, is also here for the holidays.”119 
11 January 
“Group No. 4 of the Rosella Wood Missionary Society, of Calvary Baptist 
Church [Chester], held its holiday banquet and exchange of secret pals at the 
West Branch YMCA, 7th and Flower sts. [Chester] … Guests included: … 
Rev. Martin Luther King, … students at Crozer Theological Seminary; ….”120 
14 January 
“Grace Methodist: Annual young people’s day will be observed Sunday at 
Grace Methodist Church, Central av. above Concord rd. [Chester]. Class 
meeting will be conducted at 10.15 a. m. Worship at 11 a. m. will be in 
charge of the pastor, Rev. B.A. Arnold, with music by the junior choir. 
Church school will meet at 12:45 p. m. At 2.45 p. m., Rev. Martin L. King Jr., 
of Crozer Theological Seminary, will deliver the sermon to the young people. 
Fairview Baptist junior choir will sing.”121 
15 February 
Crozer term ends. 
19 February 
MLK Jr. preaches “Walking with the Lord” at Ebenezer’s morning service. 
21 February 
Crozer term begins; MLK Jr. enrolls History of Living Religions and the 
History of Christianity. 
118 Carson, et. al., The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr. Vol. 1, pp. 87-90 and “Informal Lecture at Crozer 
Thursday,” Chester Times, November 8, 1949, p. 4. 
119 Carrie B. Harper, “Atlanta News,” The Pittsburgh Courier, January 7, 1950, p. 11. 
120 Helen Hunt, “Helen Hunt Reports,” Chester Times, January 11, 1950, p. 13. 
121 Helen Hunt, “Helen Hunt Reports,” Chester Times, January 14, 1950, p. 11.

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4 March 
“Fifth Presbyterian: Sunday school at Fifth Presbyterian Church, 3d and 
Norris sts. [Chester], will meet at 10 a. m. Communion will be observed at 
the 11 a. m. worship service when the pastor, Rev. LeRoy Patrick, will take as 
his theme, “The Peace of God.” Intermediate Westminster Fellowship will 
meet at 5 p. m. At 8 p. m. Rev. Martin Luther King jr. of Crozer Theological 
Seminary, will be the speaker for a special service sponsored by Dr. F.L. 
Brodie for the benefit of Men’s Day.”122 
7 March 
“Calvary Baptist Church, 2d and Baker sts. [Chester], is observing the 41st 
anniversary of the Rosella Woods Missionary Society with special services at 
the church each night this week. Rev. Martin Luther King jr., of Crozer 
Theological Seminary, will be the speaker for Wednesday evening. Group 
No. 3 will be in charge of the service.”123 
21 April 
“Members of the Baptist Fellowship held a box luncheon and meeting in the 
First Baptist Church, 7th and Fulton sts. [Chester], on Wednesday in 
celebration of the seventh anniversary of their organization. 
Rev. Martin Luther King was the guest speaker and he chose as his topic, 
‘Communism and Christianity.’”124 
24 April 
“Election of officers took place at Crozer Theological Seminary in Upland 
last week, as the student body moved closer to commencement, and members 
of the faculty faced a heavy late spring schedule on speaking and preaching 
assignments. Martin Luther King, a second year student from Atlanta, Ga., 
was named president. He is a graduate of Morehouse College.”125 
spring 
MLK Jr. hears Mordecai Johnson, president of Howard University, preach at 
Philadelphia’s Fellowship House on Mohandas K. Gandhi’s satyagraha as a 
method of social change. No newspaper notice of Dr. Johnson’s appearance 
can be found, however, during the spring of 1950, as Carson, et al. states. A 
notice of Johnson’s appearance at Fellowship House at First Unitarian 
Church, Chestnut St. west of 21st [Philadelphia], is found in November 
1950.126  
3 May 
“Martin L. King, a student at Crozer Theological Seminary, on Friday will 
contrast popular misconceptions regarding goals of Negroes with what he 
122 Helen Hunt, “Helen Hunt Reports,” Chester Times, March 4, 1950, p. 11. 
123 Helen Hunt, “Helen Hunt Reports,” Chester Times, March 7, 1950, p. 4. 
124 “Baptist Fellowship Marks Anniversary,” Chester Times, April 21, 1950, p. 11. 
125 “Martin King Heads Crozer Student Body,” Chester Times, April 24, 1950, p. 10. 
126 Carson, et al., The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr. Vol. 1, pp. 87-90 and “Fellowship Service,” The 
Philadelphia Inquirer
, November 18, 1950, p. 9.

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considers the real objectives at a meeting of the Newark, Del., chapter of the 
National Association for Advancement of Colored People.”127 
5 May 
Crozer term ends. 
9 May 
Crozer Commencement.128 
?? May 
MLK Jr. moves out of dormitory room on Crozer campus. 
10 June 
MLK Jr. completes his audit of the University of Pennsylvania class.  
12 June 
MLK Jr., Walter R. McCall, Pearl E. Smith, and Doris Wilson are refused 
service by Ernest Nichols at Mary’s Café in Maple Shade, New Jersey. 
Nichols fires a gun in the air when they persist in their request for service. He 
[Nichols] is arrested and charged, but later, when witnesses fail to testify, the 
case is dropped. 
 
The four victims—MLK Jr., McCall, Smith, and Wilson—file a Bill of 
Complaint against Nichols before municipal magistrate Percy L. Charleston 
on 12 June, although Smith, MLK Jr. and McCall are the only signatories to 
the filing. After signing the Bill, but presumably before submitting it to the 
municipal court, the name and address of Smith, MLK Jr., and Wilson are 
crossed out and the Smith and MLK Jr. signatures were similarly struck out 
with a pen, leaving Walter McCall, the only local resident, to pursue the case 
against Nichols. Eventually McCall drops the case when the witnesses present 
in the bar failed to appear in court.129 
16 June 
MLK Jr. is arrested for speeding in Claymont, Delaware, on his way to 
Atlanta (presumably MLK Jr. departed for home on this day). 
17 June 
“The Rev. M.L. King Jr. is home for vacation after having a successful year 
at Crozier [sic] Theological Seminary at Chester, Pa. His sister, Christine, is 
here also spending her vacation.”130 
17 June 
A.D. King and Naomi Barber are married at Ebenezer. 
18 June 
MLK Jr. preaches “The Lord God Omnipotent Reigneth” at Ebenezer. 
Summer 
MLK Jr. serves as assistant pastor at Ebenezer. 
15 July 
“Miss June Dobbs and the Rev. M. L. King Jr., who are working on the 
survey of the Negro Baptists of America, under Ira DeA. Reid, are in 
127 “Crozer Student To Address Del. NAACP,” Chester Times, May 3, 1950, p. 17. 
 
128 “Dr. Harkness Retires from Crozer Post,” Chester Times, May 9, 1950, p. 1. 
 
129 Carson, et al., The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Vol. 1, p. 329. 
 
130 Carrie B. Harper, “Atlanta News,” The Pittsburgh Courier, June 17, 1950, p. 18. 

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attendance at the Baptist Institute which is in session at Morehouse 
College.”131 
30 July 
MLK Jr. is youth day speaker at Liberty Baptist Church (Atlanta). 
12 September 
Crozer term begins; MLK Jr. begins his senior year, taking courses on 
American Christianity—Colonial Period, Ministers Use of the Radio, and 
Religious Development of Personality. He serves as student pastor at the First 
Baptist Church of East Elmhurst, Queens, New York.132 
13 September 
In preparation for his work in East Elmhurst, Queens, New York, MLK Jr. 
completes a Crozer Theological Seminary Field Work Questionnaire. On the 
form, he lists his full name and home address in Atlanta. For the Crozer 
address, he lists “Dormitory Box 27.” He indicates that for the last three 
summers, he served as the assistant pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church in 
Atlanta at a salary of $200 per month. His list of expenses include: Board 
$288.00; Rent $51.00; Laundry $75.00; and extra spending money 
$150.00.133 
20 September 
MLK Jr. audits courses on the Problem of Esthetics and on Immanuel Kant at 
the University of Pennsylvania.  
11 November 
“Fifth Presbyterian: Harvest Home Rally will be observed Sunday at Fifth 
Presbyterian Church, 3d and Norris sts. [Chester]. Rev. LeRoy Patrick will 
take as his theme for the 11 a. m. service of worship, “The Shaken World.” 
Sunday school will meet at 10 a. m. At 3:30 p. m., Rev. Martin Luther King 
Jr., of Crozer Theological Seminary, will deliver the sermon.”134  
22 November 
Crozer term ends. 
28 November 
Crozer term begins, MLK Jr. registers for Philosophy of Religion and 
Theological Integration.1 
1951 
11 January 
MLK Jr. is admitted to Boston University School of Theology. 
13 January 
A listing for Zion Baptist Church, Camden, New Jersey, mentions “M.L. 
King of Atlanta, Ga.” would deliver the sermon the next day during Sunday 
services.135 This was probably Martin Luther King, Sr., since a listing for Jr. 
usually included a mention of Crozer. 
131 Carrie B. Harper, “Atlanta News,” The Pittsburgh Courier, July 15, 1950, p. 10. 
132 Carson, et al., The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr. Vol. 1, p. 330. 
133Ibid., pp. 330-331. 
134 Helen Hunt, “Helen Hunt Reports,” Chester Times, November 11, 1950, p. 9. 
135 “Sunday Services in South Jersey Churches,” Courier-Post, January 13, 1951, p. 14. 

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27 January 
“Temple Baptist: Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., of Crozer Theological 
Seminary, will be the speaker Sunday at 3:30 p. m. for the special service at 
Temple Baptist Church, 6th and Parker sts. [Chester].”136 
3 February 
End of semester at University of Pennsylvania. 
3 February 
MLK Jr. takes the Graduate Record Examination. 
15 February 
Crozer term ends. 
18 February 
MLK Jr. preaches “Nothing in Particular” at Ebenezer. 
20 February 
Crozer term begins; MLK Jr. enrolls in Advanced Philosophy of Religion, 
Christian Social Philosophy, and Christianity and Society. 
24 February 
“Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., of Crozer Theological Seminary, will be the 
speaker for the 11 a. m. Sunday service of worship at Fifth Presbyterian 
Church, 3d and Norris streets [Chester].”137 
6 March 
“The Rosella Wood Missionary Society, of Calvary Baptist Church, 2d and 
Baker streets [Chester], is observing its 42d anniversary with special services 
each evening this week.…The anniversary will be climaxed on Sunday with a 
special program at 3:30 p. m. Rev. Martin Luther King, of Crozer Theological 
Seminary, will deliver the sermon.”138 
14 April 
“Annual Young People’s Day will be observed Sunday at St. Daniel’s 
Methodist Church, 4th and Edwards streets [Chester].  Rev. Martin Luther 
King Jr., of Crozer Theological Seminary, will be the speaker for the 8 p. 
m.”139 
4 May 
Crozer term ends. 
8 May 
“Martin Luther King of Atlanta, Ga., won the Pearl Ruth Plafker award of 
$50 as the outstanding member of the graduating class at Crozer Theological 
Seminary’s commencement exercises this morning. The award is made 
annually by Dr. Nathan V. Plafker, Chester dentist, in memory of his wife. 
… The J. Lewis Crozer Postgraduate Fellowship for study in the field of 
religious education and psychology of religion went to Martin Luther King, a 
member of the senior class.”140 
136 Helen Hunt, “Helen Hunt Reports, ” Chester Times, January 27, 1951, p. 7. 
137 Helen Hunt, “Helen Hunt Reports,” Chester Times, February 24, 1951, p. 7. 
138 Helen Hunt, “Helen Hunt Reports,” Chester Times, March 6, 1951, p. 4. 
139 Helen Hunt, “Helen Hunt Reports.” Chester Times, April 14, 1951, p. 7. 
140 “At Seminary Exercises,” Chester Times, May 8, 1951, p. 4.

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MLK Jr. leaves campus after graduation for Atlanta. 
12 May 
MLK Jr. preaches “The World Crisis & A Mother’s Responsibility” at 
Ebenezer. 
Summer 
MLK Jr. serves as pastor in charge at Ebenezer.

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Appendix D:
Oral History/Email Interview Transcripts
Beshai, James.  Email interview with John O’Hara. Stockton Biographical Investigation Project, 
New Jersey Historic Preservation Office. Conducted from Galloway, New Jersey, October 24, 
2017. 
Birts, Donald “Ducky.” Interview with Patrick Duff. Personal Interview. Conducted in 
Philadelphia, PA, June 16, 2016. Excerpted and transcribed by John O’Hara, June 22, 2017. 
Collins, Michael, Office of Congressman John Lewis.  Email correspondence with John O’Hara, 
Stockton Biographical Investigation Project, New Jersey Historic Preservation Office. 
Conducted from Galloway, New Jersey, October 19, 2017. 
Duff, Patrick. Interview with Michelle Craig McDonald and John O’Hara. Stockton Biographical 
Investigation Project, New Jersey Historic Preservation Office. Conducted in Camden, New 
Jersey, October 26, 2017. 
Hunt, Jeannette Lily M. Interview with Patrick Duff. Personal Interview. Conducted in Camden, 
NJ, January 19, 2015. Excerpted and transcribed by John O’Hara, June 21, 2017. 
Hunt, Jeannette Lily M. Interview with Michelle Craig McDonald and John O’Hara. Stockton 
Biographical Investigation Project, New Jersey Historic Preservation Office. Conducted in 
Camden, New Jersey, October 26, 2017. 
Lowery, Thelma. Interview with Patrick Duff.  Personal Interview. Conducted in Camden, NJ, 
December 1, 2017.  Transcribed by Michelle Craig McDonald, December 9, 2017. 
McCall, Walter.  Interview with Herbert Holmes. The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Center 
Oral History Project. Conducted in Atlanta, GA, 1970.   
McMickle, Marvin and Thomas McDade Clay, Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, 
Stockton Biographical Investigation Project, New Jersey Historic Preservation Office.  Email 
correspondence with John O’Hara. Conducted from Galloway, New Jersey, June 7, 2017. 
Milton, Janet (and Julius).  Email interview with John O’Hara. Stockton Biographical 
Investigation Project, New Jersey Historic Preservation Office. Conducted from Galloway, New 
Jersey, October 26, 2017. 

Email Redacted pursuant to N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1, N.J.S.A. 47:1A-9.b, and an expectation of privacy. 
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Email and Telephone Interview: 
James Beshai 
)  
Tuesday, October 24, 2017 
Conducted by:   
John O’Hara, Associate Professor of Critical Thinking, Stockton University 
The email exchanges below with James Beshai, a student whose time at Crozier Theological 
Seminary overlapped with that of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Walter McCall, took place 
following a telephone conversation on Monday, October 23, 2017, between John O’Hara and 
James Beshai, in which Beshai agreed to participate in Stockton’s biographical investigation on 
behalf of the New Jersey Historic Preservation Office, but requested to do so by email and in 
writing. 
All original phrasing and spelling has been retained. 
[Follow thread top to bottom – i.e. the original correspondence appears first] 
On Tue, Oct 24, 2017 at 11:10 AM, O'Hara, John <John.O'xxxx@xxxxxxxx.xxx> wrote: 
Dear James, 
Thank you again very much for your time today, and especially for sending a copy of your 
forthcoming article in _Humanist Psychology_.  We are very interested in reading your 
observations about Dr. King’s philosophical and theological development. 
In part, our research team at Stockton is trying also to understand King’s developing political 
consciousness, but we are attempting to understand how his experiences as a young person 
contributed to his intellectual development.  Ours is a biographical project in some ways, which 
is why we wanted to ask you some questions about King’s experiences at Crozer.   
We appreciate your time considering the questions below, especially your willingness to provide 
written responses.  If you would rather schedule a telephone interview, we would be happy to do 
that, too. 
General Crozer Questions:  
1 During what years did you attend Crozer? 
2 Where did you live as a student? 
3 Can you describe dormitory life on campus? (how many per room, any special rules or 
regulations, were meals included, what kinds of social activities, etc.). 

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4 Did all students live on campus?  Did student stay on campus during breaks or over the 
summer?  If not, where did students live/go during dormitory closures? 
5. Do you remember any of your roommates in particular?  If so, what do you recall? 
6. Do you have any documents, photographs or other materials showing student life on campus
that you would be willing to provide to us? 
Questions about Martin Luther King, Jr., in particular: 
6. What do you remember about MLK as a student and person?
7. Do you remember his time on campus?  Any of the activities in which he was involved?
8. One of his biographies mentions a violent confrontation with another student in the campus
dormitory?  Do you remember the incident, and, if so, can you describe it in your own words?
9. Do you remember if MLK mentioned interactions with families in Chester, PA?
10. Do you remember if King ever mentioned classmate Walter McCall or visiting Camden, NJ,
with McCall?  Do you remember your classmate Walter McCall at all, or his connections to
Camden?  If so, can you tell anything about him?
11. Did you ever hear about an incident in Camden/Maple Shade, NJ where King and others
were denied service in a restaurant?  If so, do you remember anything about the consequences or
outcomes of this experience on King’s political thinking?
12. Do you know anything of King’s typical off-campus activities?  Do you remember any of his
activities outside of Chester, or do you have a sense of whether or not he spent any or significant
time in Camden, NJ, during his time at Crozer?
13. Do you know of any other personal experiences on or off campus that may have impacted
King’s political or philosophical perspectives?
14. Are you aware of any travels whatsoever King made to Camden, NJ?
Ultimately, we are trying to establish whether Dr. King may have a.) visited Camden regularly; 
b.) had friends there or stayed there occasionally; or c.) spoken about Camden, any friends he 
may have had there, or any experiences there.  If you can think of any details related to potential 
connections King may have had to Camden, this would be helpful.  If you recall King 
mentioning Camden even once, occasionally, or frequently, it would help us better chart his 
potential connections to the city. 
With much appreciation, 
John O’Hara, Ph.D. 
Associate Professor 

Email Redacted pursuant to N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1, N.J.S.A. 47:1A-9.b, and an expectation of privacy. 
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Stockton University 
Galloway, NJ 08205 
xxxx.xxxxx@xxxxxxxx.xxx 
609-652-4249 / office
484-432-6873 / mobile (preferred)
On Tue, Oct 24, 2017 at 12:58 PM, James/Jimmy Beshai 
 wrote: 
Dear John, 
Thank you very much for sending me this list of questions. Since it carries your email as well I 
shall be able to send the article as attachment. But, I am not too savvy about using the computer 
to send attachments. If I do not succeed I shall get some help from a neighbor and try again. I 
printed the list of questions and will give it more thought than this casual reply. 
1.We shared the school-year 9/50-6/51 at Crozer Seminary, Chester, Pa. We took some courses
together with Dr. George Dqvis, Dr. Kenneth Smith, and Dr. M.S. Enslin. We lived in the
Dormitary which was also the Old Main of Crozer where all classes were held.  We spent time
together during lunch hours at the Seminary basement which served also as a social room with
billiard tables.
2. We lived in the same Crozer Dormitory on the second floor. I had room 201 and I believe he
had room 203 or 211 I am not sure.  I believe Walter Mcall was on the same side, but MLK, Jr.
was on the opposite side.
Dormitory placements showed no discrimination by color or race. I was a foreign student along 
with one Chinese and one Japanese. There were more white than black students, but all of us 
enjoyed a very friendly atmosphere.  
3. September 1950-Sept. 1952. I spent two years on a joint scholarship to study Psychology at
Penn and Religion at Crozer. Martin spent one year with with me before moving to Boston for
his Ph.D.
4. A majority of the students lived on campus: bachelors in the Dormitory, and married students
in another Building on campus, and I forget the name of it.
5. I remember in addition to Martin among the black students: Walter MacCall, Whitaker
Chambers, and the son of Pius Barbour. I remember En Chin Lyn from China, and Makutu
Sakurabayashy from Japan.
I made friends awith several Crozer classmates, and one one or two at Penn which I used to 
cummute to by suburban train from Chester to 30th Street Station. Martin and I maintained 
contact by mail after our graduation. I was appointed Asst Prof. of Psychology at the American 
University in Cairo, Egypt. Martin corresponded with me and informed me of a visit he was able 
to make in 1959. He spent a day with me with his wife Coretta scott King. We visited the 

Email Redacted pursuant to N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1, N.J.S.A. 47:1A-9.b, and an expectation of privacy. 
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Pyramids and the American University and I introduced Martin and Cortta to Dean Allan Horton 
at AUC. 
6.  
From: James/Jimmy Beshai 
]  
Sent: Tuesday, October 24, 2017 1:24 PM 
To: O'Hara, John <John.O'xxxx@xxxxxxxx.xxx> 
Subject: Re: MLK and Camden questions 
It looks like the message has been sent to you already. So, I will add the rest of the responses 
here: 
6. I have copies of his letters to me. Is ent the originals to Crozer Colgate Rochester Seminary
when they invited me to deposit these documents in the MLK, Jr. Museum at the Seminary.
7. I remember him as an upright and articulate speaker and scholar. I got to meet his parents
during their visit to the Campus. I also got to meet and correspond with Coretta a few times.
8. I remember the confrontation and the aftermath. I know the white southern student, but I do
not want to say his name, since his name was not mentioned in what I read about it. But, it was
not beyond the subtle discrimination that prevailed in those days. We all had dinner together, and
spoke decently, but some may have harbored prejudicial remarks such as this student. He
is a friend of mine, and we call each other from time to time. We do not mention any opinion on
the reputation of Martin Luther King, Jr. I sent him copies of what I wrote in the papers about
MLK, Jr. I have half a dozen articles which I will try to send you as attachments once I know
how to do that.
9. Martin introduced to the home of his father's friend in Chester: Pius Barbour who invited me
to dinner one Sunday. Martin and Walter McCall were very hospitable to me when they
introduced me to one black family in Chester who invited me to dinner a couple of times. The
Dormitory had no food on Sundays, and both Martin and Walter were very hospitable to me.
10.I head of the restaurant incident in Camden, N.J. Both of them talked about it during our
dinner table discussions.
11.I witnessed incidents of discrimination on bus and restaurant, but .I tended to ignore them or
say to myself; This happens at times, but the majority are OK.It will gradually go away.
12.I think that I avoided dealing with the issue, and felt that I was just a visiting student, and that
this sort of thing happens in every society. I was a Coptic Christian in a Moslem Egypt, and to
some extent I was considered a second class citizen in my own country because I was Christian
in a country that had become Moslem since the Arab invasion of Egypt in the 7th. century. Egypt
became Christian by St. Mark who came to Alexandria iaround 30 B.C. When Islamic invasion
came the Christians were given a choice to convert to Islam or pay "Gizya" or a high tax. I
belonged to a family that must have afforded to stay Christian, but many converted to Islam.

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13I will more on this later. Some of it was in my writing. I have written several articles on this 
which I shall sent as attachments when I know how to do it. 
From: O'Hara, John <John.O'xxxx@xxxxxxxx.xxx>  
Sent: Wednesday, October 25, 2017 8:42 AM 
To: James/Jimmy Beshai [mailto
Subject: Re: MLK and Camden questions 
Dear James, 
Thank you very much for responding so quickly to our questions.  Thanks also for sending along 
your articles.  I had a chance to glance at them, and look forward to reading them in whole.  You 
and so many of your classmates went on to have such illustrious careers – what a remarkable 
group of young men in Old Main! 
If there is anything more you remember about the comings and goings of MLK and Walter 
McCall, we would appreciate it.  We have been researching both men for the past eight months, 
and we did not know that Mr. McCall lived in the dormitory.  Colgate Crozer in Rochester does 
not have dormitory records.   
One of our central questions has to do with when or how often either or both MLK or McCall 
left campus to stay in Camden at one of McCall’s relative’s house.  This is apparently where he 
and McCall were staying on the night of the incident of discrimination MLK experienced in New 
Jersey, June 10-11, 1950 – well after the end of term at Crozer but just a week after the close of 
term at Penn where MLK was taking a course.  We are trying to ascertain a couple things: 
--whether or not, and if so how often did King and/or McCall visit a certain Camden residence 
during the school term.  Was it a place they perhaps visited once or twice, or did they “hang out” 
there more often, or even frequently? 
--did McCall and/or King stayed at the Camden residence during one, any, some or many 
“breaks” from school, or was it more common to remain in the dorms or travel elsewhere during 
Crozer “breaks.” 
--was it a seldom, sometime or common practice for King or any students to “go out” in Camden 
– for leisure, fun, dates, etc. – on weekends or breaks?
--did MLK stay in the Camden residence in May-June 1950 after Crozer’s term ended but before 
Univ. of Penn’s term ended? 
--what was the “impact” of the experience of discrimination in New Jersey on King?  Do you 
think it affected substantially his growth or development in terms of his political consciousness 
or his future strategies of passive resistance?  Can you recall any of the substance of King and 
McCall’s discussions of the incident in New Jersey (re: question 10).  

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James, your input is invaluable to our work – as historians, we really want to get this 
right.  There are elements to the question of “King in Camden” that people really want to believe 
badly enough that they sometimes fill in details that may not be correct.  Our job is not to build a 
case but to get all the records and testimonies we can.  We thank you very, very much for 
helping. 
Sincerely, 
John 
From: James/Jimmy Beshai [mailto
Sent: Thursday, October 26, 2017 10:59 AM 
To: O'Hara, John <John.O'xxxx@xxxxxxxx.xxx> 
Subject: Re: MLK and Camden questions 
Dear John. 
Thank your for your comments. I do not consider my scholarly contribution to be anywhere near 
Martin Luther King, Jr. He was recognized by two mentors at Crozer as the top of a class which 
is predominantly white. I was just a foreign student who wanted to be like Carl Rogers, 
combining psychology with religion. I was also deeply interested in Paul Tillich who gave a mini 
course at Crozer which I attended. I consider myself very fortunate to have had an American 
education, and I am deeply indebted to the generosity of American people following my graduate 
education and residence in the United States. I did not experience any prejudicial treatment on 
account of my being from Egypt. Perhaps the fact that my wife is an American from 
Pennsylvania helped in this regard. 
I rely on my memory in responding to your questions on the visits of MLK, Jr. and Walter 
McCall. I heard about the refusal to offer them restaurant service on account of their race. Martin 
talked about it at dinner table with other residents of the dormintory, and with Kenneth Smith 
who was a faculty member but also resided in the Dormitroy. 
Kenneth Smith was a former Crozer graduate who had his Ph.D. at Duke, and was very close to 
the students. He wrote about the Camden incident in his book with Zapp (1974). 
I do not recall that Martin was emotional tin talking about it. He talked about it with J. Pius 
Barbour who invited me to dinner with Martin and the incident was brought in our discussion. It 
was always discussed in a rational manner. I was asked if I was discriminated against in a similar 
manner because I was a Copt. I said that I personally did not experience any discrimination in 
Egypt on account of my being a Coptic Christian in a predominantly Moslem country. But, there 
were fellow Copts who complained of discrimination in obtaining scholarships on account of 
their religion. But no restaurant in Egypt would know the difference between a Copt and a 
Moslem. 
Martin and I had read Gordon Allport's book on varieties of Prejudice, and our discussions were 
always in the light of how it was viewed by Psychologists like Allport. McCall's connections 
with off-campus visits was not known to me except through dinner discussions. I do not think 

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that Martin's visits to Camden was as frequent as his visit with J. Pius Barbnour who was Pastor 
of a Black Church in Camden, and whose son hecame a Crozer student after Martin left to 
Boston. I was on Campus for two years, but only the first year 1950-51 was the year that I shared 
dormitory and classes with Martin Luther King, Jr. 
  
I will keep you posted if I have any other relevant comments. 
 
 
 
  
 
 

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INTERVIEW WITH DONALD “DUCKY” BIRTS, June 2, 2015 
[transcribed partially by John O’Hara on June 22, 2017 from .mp4 audio file provided by Patrick 
Duff] 
Duff:  It’s June 2, 2015.  I am here with Donald “Ducky” Birts, and this is Patrick Duff, and we 
are going to do a quick interview about what he knows about Dr. King living in Camden. 
[0:00-5:00, Birts discusses involvement in civil rights movement, meeting King in Philadelphia, 
working with Jesse Jackson, various efforts of SCLC and the founding of Jackson’s movement, 
PUSH] 
Duff: When did you meet Dr. King? 
Birts:  I met Dr. King, 19—hmm—60, I think it was, 1960. 
Duff:  Ok. And then did Dr. King tell you that he used to live in Camden? 
Birts:  Yeah, he told me, yeah, he told me.  But I met him stronger coming to Philly with Jesse 
[Jackson], not in Camden, but coming to Philly, and then the meetings in Philly with Georgie 
Wood, Murray Mason, you know those people back in the day . . .  [5:00-7:00 approximately] 
 
[7:25-10:10] 
Duff: When you met Dr. King, did he tell you he once worked with Dr. Wiggins? 
Birts: Well, he worked with everybody . . .  
Duff:  Well, specifically, there was an incident in Maple Shade that happened to him, where Dr. 
Wiggins, from a Tribune article in 1950, says that Dr. Wiggins was working with Dr. King 
before he was a doctor, when he was a 21-year-old kid.  The conversation you had with Dr. 
King, did he specify how long he lived in Camden? 
Birts: No, he didn’t.  
Duff: Ok. 
Birts:  No, he didn’t specify.  During those days, coming from the south, they got a lot of 
relatives.  And they stayed with each other, because they didn’t have the money to go in a hotel.  
And they wouldn’t accept us in the triple-A hotels, Holidays Inns, and the hotels now. Hilton and 
all those people.  They didn’t accept us, to stay there, number one.  People do that talking now, 
everything’s open, but back then brother you sat in the back of the bus.  On the train, you sat in 
the back of the train.  And you head in to town, you snuck into town, you snuck out of town.  
You didn’t have that openness.  They had that hook up.  [FBI Director J. Edgar] Hoover back in 
them days was tracking King everywhere he went as a communist.  He was considered as a 
normal being.  He didn’t have that royalty until late in his years, late in his years.  
Duff: Did Dr. King tell you where he lived in Camden? 

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Birts:  Yeah, Walnut Street, he told me Walnut Street, yeah.  Walnut Street, yeah. 
Duff:  Do you remember where you were when you had that conversation? 
Birts:  Oh, man, I was a young whippersnapper, man, I don’t know, might have been at the park, 
[indecipherable], or Ddr. Wiggins office.  We only had a few landmarks.  We weren’t renegades 
everywhere. 
Duff:  And Dr. Wiggins office has burned down since. 
Birts:  Yeah, [indecipherable] Dr. Wiggins was a strong man.  In fact, he’s the reason I am in 
civil rights today . . .  
Duff:  Did you know the prosecutor Johnson?  
Birts: Yeah, oh yeah [indecipherable] Johnson 
Duff: Did you know he was King’s lawyer? 
Birts: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, Johnson’s my man.  He was a Republican, too.  Johnson was not a 
Democrat.  He was Republican.  I remember.  Dr. Wiggins was a Republican. 
[10:12-13:55]  Birts discusses local politics, NAACP, local figures, Camden’s prosperity at the 
time, Camden today, its school system, its potential for rebuilding given location, proximity to 
Philadelphia, New York, various highways.  Duff and Birts discuss the Camden 23, Father 
Michael Doyle.] 
Duff:  Did you know Jethroe Hunt? 
Birts: Oh, yeah.  Did you go to the Church? 
Duff: Which church? 
Birts: Nazarene. 
Duff:  No, where’s that? 
Birts: That’s his family, 8th and Atlantic. 
Duff: ok, now . . .  
Birts:  Hunt’s a deacon there.  He’s a deacon boy.  His father was a foreman.  Hunt was a 
policeman, he went to school with me. 
Duff:  That’s who King lived with.   
Birts:  Yeah. 
Duff: He lived with the Hunt family. 
Birts: Yeah, that whole family. 
Duff: Now, Lily Hunt, or Jeanette Hunt, is the one that I knocked on her door, and she said yeah 
he used to live here.  And she knew you very well.  And her son, Jay, is a deacon also. 

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Birts:  Yeah, they got a good family. 
Duff: Yeah, very good family.  If you can imagine, she’s 83 years old, but when I knocked on 
her door, she was doing graduate program, or graduate class, writing a paper on pastoral 
counseling, you know she’s getting a degree . . . and here I am, 39 years old, and I never went to 
college, and it was so inspirational to me.  
Birts:  Yeah, well, Camden got a lot of history 
[third, unknown voice chimes in, nostalgia praise for generation.] 
[15:28-18:05] 
Duff: So, if um, just to sum up, because, in a sense, the Historic Preservation Office, I’m trying 
to . . . I’m just making sure I’ve got . . . Jeanette Hunt, she said that King lived with her at that 
house. Her father, Benjamin Hunt, did you know Benjamin Hunt, her father? [“Yeah”] They’re 
both stand up people, right?  
Birts: Oh, yeah, [indecipherable] Baptists . . .  
Duff:  And there’s a street named Jethroe Hunt in Camden . . . 
Birts: Yeah, 3rd Ward . . . 
Duff:  . . . And you’re the third person who said King lived in Camden, and King told you 
himself, correct? 
Birts: Oh, yeah, yeah.  Correct.  In fact, when I came to Philly to help SCLC, Dr. King said, 
bring him in, bring him in.  Bring the gentleman in, he got a lot offer, bring him in.  Me and 
Jesse come in, sit down and talk.  He was very humble, he never tuned anybody away.  Very 
humble, never turned anybody away. Anybody got something to offer, we’d take it.  It was free!  
We weren’t getting paid.  Nobody got paid in the movement.  That was your time.  You put 
money into the movement, you didn’t take nothing out of it.  [indecipherable]   . . . Toward the 
whole, you had to give up yourself, your money and your time.  That movement.  The kids that 
benefit now, they have no idea! 
Duff:  When you told King you lived in Camden, I’m sure that’s . . . 
Birts . . . Ooh, that’s [indecipherable] . . . “bring him in here, bring him in” 
Duff:  Did you know Walter McCall? 
Birts: Walter McCall?  Walter McCall?  Doesn’t ring a bell.   
Duff:  Well, Walter McCall . . . 
Birts: . . . Might have had [no meat?] on him . . . 
Duff: Well, Walter McCall is the Hunts cousin, first cousin, and that was King’s best friend in 
Morehouse and at Crozer. 
Birts: Oh, at college, yeah . . . 

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Duff:  Yeah, and that’s the connection King had to the Hunts, was Walter McCall. 
Birts: Probably [no meat?], you know . . . I was doing everything in Camden, man, I did 
everything in Camden.  Camden gave me my base.  When I came to Philadelphia . . .  I had my 
apprenticeship already.  I had my apprenticeship in politics, I had my apprenticeship in business, 
I had my apprenticeship in civil rights.  So I didn’t bother nobody—It was just a bigger town, 
same problem.   
[18:05-23:30: discussion of Reverend Sullivan, other leaders such as Malcolm X, Abernathy, 
King’s oratory, his courage in passive resistance, Gandhi, nonviolence, other figures, Birts’ 
Foundation, economic principles in relation to politics.] 
[23:30-] 
Duff:  Do you think that house on Walnut Street that King stayed in, do you think that should be 
preserved? 
Birts:  Should be preserved.  You’re on the right track.  I mean, you called me, I knew who you 
was.  I knew about you.  I knew [indecipherable] about that in the paper, had a section of the 
Inquirier, over here Jersey section, had about that, I said, “That’s a good thing, man.” You know, 
I never knew that you were doing this in Camden, till you called me.  I didn’t turn you down, no, 
I’d never turn you down.  And you got my man with you, Francis is a good guy, we’re about the 
same age . . .  

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O'Hara, John 
Thu 10/19/2017 12:27 PM 
To: xxxxxxx.xxxxxxx@xxxx.xxxxx.xxx; 
Cc: McDonald, Michelle; 
You replied on 10/19/2017 6:51 PM. 
Dear Mr. Collins: 
Good afternoon.  I am writing with the hope that Congressman Lewis can assist my team of 
researchers at Stockton University in our efforts to investigate the historical significance of a 
Camden, NJ, property associated with Martin Luther King, Jr., during his time in the greater 
Delaware Valley, 1948-52.  Mr. Lewis is familiar with the site, currently under consideration as 
a New Jersey historic landmark by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, 
Office of Historic Preservation (NJDEP-OHP).  Stockton University has been contracted by 
NJDEP to perform an independent investigation of Dr. King’s relation to the property. 
NJDEP suggested that Congressman Lewis might be able to put us in contact with Dr. King’s 
surviving relatives, including Christine King Farris, as we explore evidence and testimony about 
his activities in and around Camden, NJ, between 1948-52.  We would especially welcome the 
opportunity to ask Ms. King Farris what she recalls about this period in her brother’s life.  We 
could submit our questions in any way Ms. King Farris finds convenient, including via email, 
telephone or video conference. 
We would very much appreciate the Congressman’s assistance in helping us complete this 
important historical research. 
Sincerely, 
John F. O’Hara, Ph.D. 
Associate Professor 
Stockton University 
Galloway, NJ 08205 
609-652-4249/office
484-432-6873/mobile
Cc: 
Michelle Craig McDonald, Ph.D. 
Associate Professor and Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs 
Stockton University 
609-652-4514/office

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Oral History Interview: 
Patrick Duff 
524 Station Ave., Haddon Heights, New Jersey 
Thursday, October 26, 2017, 1:30pm 
Conducted by:  
John O’Hara, Associate Professor of Critical Thinking, Stockton University 
Michelle Craig McDonald, Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs, Stockton University 
DUFF:  “We can’t move forward,” they said, “unless we have state designation.” At the same 
time they’re getting a quarter million dollars in grants, for a property that we signed an original 
sale agreement on, that they never closed on.  They walked away from the closing table, so they 
breached that contract, and they also—what happened—was when we sat down with them, the 
mayor’s office, the congress people’s office, a whole table of people, everyone agreed “we’re 
100% on board” so long as we’ve got Camden DUFF:....City to designate it as historic.  They 
said this is great, this is wonderful, we're so glad, we're happy but nothing happened literally. So, 
around February after it didn't close, their story changed.  And they said, well, we need state 
designation as well as we need you (me) to contact the King Center and get licensing rights for 
his name. Now that was interesting because they didn't get licensing rights to get the grant in his 
name. 
O'HARA: And what was the grant intended for? 
DUFF: The grant was intended for the restoration of the home, specifically, and for curation and 
for lighting and for museum exhibits. 
MCDONALD: Do you know who the funder was? 
DUFF: CDBG grant, so it was a community development block grant, through the City of 
Camden. 
MCDONALD: So, it was the City of Camden. 
DUFF: Right, so it's not like the City of Camden didn't know either, they knew as well.  So me 
and property owner have been in the dark, and she's…she’s not happy.  I mean, why would you 
do that?  We were supposed to set a steering committee up, and it was never set up because they 
changed the rules. 
O'HARA:  Why would the Coopers Ferry Partnership not be able to go ahead with the 
restoration of the property? 
DUFF: I didn't say they wouldn't, but its a little odd that you don't tell people that they're getting 
a grant for the property that you can't move forward on unless you have a state designation, 
right? So, if it based on a state designation somehow then maybe the grant money is, who 
knows? 

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O'HARA: So the community development grant came from Camden, why are they requiring 
state designation? 
DUFF: I asked for a copy of the grant, you know, I asked for all of the things you would think 
they would be able to provide and I've been stonewalled. So I've talked to a friend who is an 
attorney, and he said, "Listen, Pat, what they do is fraud, it's clear and convincing, I mean, if they 
sent you an email saying they're not going to continue with the project, then they apply for grants 
and tell you that you have to get licensing for something that they apply for licensing, or for 
grants on the same name...they didn't apply for the Hunt home, they applied for the MLK house. 
So, you know, it's just so upsetting because you work so hard. 
MCDONALD: And we know definitely that the grant has been awarded? 
DUFF: I've got, I can show you, I've got a Courier Post it was 7, July 7, $229,035 was awarded. 
O'HARA: And dispersed to? 
DUFF: I don't know. 
MCDONALD: That was my next question. 
DUFF: That's the question. You know, and they won't tell us. Phaedra Trethan, who's a Courier 
Post
 reporter said "Pat, I'm getting stonewalled. I've never got stonewalled by these people," she 
said. I said, "Okay," but that's way later in the story. So if you want, we could, I should tell you 
kind of how I first got involved.  What it is, is I'm a community activist, organizer, whatever you 
want to say, but when I see something, I say something, and I try to do something.  You know, if 
there was a car accident, I'll stop my car and I'll help the person, and there was a woman who 
was actually hurt in the car one day, and there was gas on the thing, and I'm thinking, "You have 
two choices," I told her, I said, "I get you out and carry you down away from this car, or the car 
can catch on fire. 
She says, "Get me the hell out of the car." So, I picked her up and took her out of the car.  
Smyrna, Delaware had no crosswalks in the town.  My wife calls me one day, “I can't get to the 
store,” I'm like "why," she says, "I can't cross the street.  So I go to the council, I get 
crosswalks.  I'm fighting City Council in Philadelphia to try and get open public comment in City 
Council.   
So I've been an activist.  I've been a big-time activist, against the war on drugs, against the war in 
Iraq, and so I've always thought Dr. King's messages were really, you know, sound.  The non-
violence thing, you know, you show up and somebody curses you out, and you say, "you know 
what, thank you." Guess what, you win. So I've always looked at him kind of like a hero.   
So if you can imagine, one day, this story came across national media about these two students in 
Maple Shade, they were from Rwanda, okay, and the students that were in Maple Shade, that 
were from Rwanda, the school nurse took it upon herself to send out a memo to everyone that 
she was going to take these kids out of class three times a day and test them for Ebola.  Now, 

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Rwanda is 3,000 miles away from the Ebola zone so either she doesn't know geography or she 
just doesn't care, and just figures these kids are from Africa, I'm testing them for Ebola, when, 
geographically its' actually the kids in Maple Shade had a higher percentage chance of having 
Ebola since somebody from Texas got Ebola and somebody in New York got Ebola.  And it was 
like the town embraced it. Like in the media, people were like, "she was just standing up for the 
kids, "and I'm thinking, "wait, that’s…there's something wrong, because if that happened in my 
town, at least in Haddon Heights, there would be people at the school board meeting saying, 
"listen come on, she can't do this to the kids, she's going to lose her job."   
Well, she kept her job, didn't get reprimanded, so I decided I wanted to look into what creates 
that culture.  Is there something there, more than this incident, or is there other things 
there?  And when I started looking into the town I was just absolutely shocked.  It was, there was 
a cross burned, the last crossed burned above the Mason Dixon line was in Maple Shade in the 
'20s, a black family in Maple Shade was living there on a farm, and the Klu Klux Clan held a 
rally downtown, and somebody said "hey, there's a house down the street that a black family 
lives in, so they said "oh, let's bring the rally there." They went to the house, they burned the 
cross on the lawn, the people left. Sitting on that land now, is the Southern Cross Apartments. No 
joke, and I got that from the historian from Maple Shade, I guess his name is Dennis Hester, or 
something like that. He has his own, I think it's called like Den's Maple Shade website, 
something like that, so you can fine out a little about Maple Shade. So I found out that there was 
a, you know, a white supremacist music label operating out of Maple Shade for years and they 
have a PO Box there, and they have a guy who's freely doing it, nobody's got a problem with 
it.  And in the early 2000s there was a guy, they used to cause him David “14-words” Lane, I 
believe his name was.  He was a white supremacist.  His wife, when he went to jail, and, by the 
way, those 14 words are being used today by all the new neo-Nazi groups, and they're all 
clamping on these 14 words, which are something like we have to protect the white race from, 
you know, you know, whatever it may be.  But it's 14 words, and that was his legacy, his kind of 
his M.O.  His wife picks the family up and decides to move to Maple Shade, so it makes the 
newspapers because she's coming towards Steve Wineguard, who is the owner of this mice trap 
distribution, and nobody is up in arms.   
So then I find another article where a guy's trying to make a movie called "White Knights," or 
something like that, guy named Charles Kristophe, and he wanted to make a movie about the 
casino that was in Maple Shade, about all these other things that were Maple Shade, and also, Dr. 
King being in Maple Shade, and I'm like "wait, Dr. King in Maple Shade? What are you talking 
about?"  So I did another search on the internet and I found an article in the Philadelphia 
Inquirer
 called "A Bar that Began a Crusade," that was by, I forget his name, but, um, Michael 
Caputo, I believe, he's a very, very good writer.  He's got tons of books now.  And that article 
really explained it pretty clearly, that what happened there was significant, you know.   
And I said, because I'd just listened to a TED talk, and I can't believe I can't find it, and the guy 
said, he was from India, you guys may know the fellow, and he basically was so angry because 
there were so many hungry people, and he couldn't figure out how to cure hunger, and he sort of 
thought about it, and he said I'm so angry maybe I could put my anger into some kind of drive 
and figure out some program for kids to start eating.  And it went from kids to teenagers, to 
adults, and now the poor people have, at least, food.  And he's done this himself, and I'm thinking 
to myself, "I'm surely angry, you know what I mean. These kids got ostracized, I was ostracized 

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at school, so I always look at schools like they should be safe havens for kids, you know, so 
when I see something happen I want to be able to try to fix it.  So I thought, look, what if I 
approached the town, and had them put in a plaque or a memorial to this event that happened in 
their town.  It would almost, it would almost, you know, like covering up the black eye, you 
know, how it's been, it's been a myth in town, it would kind of take that off.  And that's what I 
think a big problem in our country is. 
MCDONALD: Do you know what year this was? I don't want to interrupt. 
DUFF:  This was 2015.  November of 2015 when I came up with this plan.  But I knew I didn't 
have a lot of evidence except for a newspaper article, and a couple of other things at this 
time.  So I started researching in biographies.  I started grabbing every biography I could.  My 
wife thought I was crazy. Because I had stacks of these things. 
MCDONALD: Oh there's tons of them. 
DUFF: Yeah, stacks and stacks.  Now if you read them, 50% of them don't include anything 
about Maple Shade. Now, you have to look at the dates of those.  These are post a certain date 
where it seems like, by the way post his death especially, so somebody didn't want that story to 
get out there.  The Maple Shade story was hidden for a reason, and we're going to get into that, 
because I'm sure you've read my timeline.  But, so what happened then, was I had this 
information, I had these biographies, I had all the other things, so I thought it was enough 
information to go on.  In December, I sent an email to City Council in Maple Shade, in 
December of 2015, and I said "Hey, I'd like to discuss with you an idea I have for your town. I 
think it would be a really good idea, you know you just had bad media, this would be good 
media, you know, kind of trying to sell them.  Listen, this is something that every June 12th you 
could have a ceremony in your town where people come and celebrate this.  I mean they just had 
40,000 people in Selma because, after that movie everyone was like "hey, I want to go to 
Selma."  Well, if this thing becomes a movie, guess what, people will come to Maple Shade; 
they'll want to see where the revolution began, where his civil rights began.  So I sold them a bit, 
and they kind of, and they brought me in and we had a meeting.  So me, the city attorney, and the 
town manager, a guy named Jack Lane, had a meeting.  We sat down and he said "Listen, this is 
a myth to us.  We don't care about these folks, basically, this is...newspaper articles...they can 
just be written, but we need primary source evidence to show it happened, and that it happened 
in Maple Shade.  Because we don't know they could think it was Mary's Cafe and it was a place 
in Berlin." So they're sticking me to the wall.   
So this is in December, and I'm like, "oh my God, what do I do? I've looked everywhere, I've 
read every biography," so I started going outside the box, and, um, that's when I started going to 
archives, and like trying to research archives.  And I was doing it for over, probably for almost  
like a month, when I was researching.  And on January 16, January 16th, on his birthday of 2016, 
I was reading the volume one of the King papers by Clayborne Carson, you know it's 300-
something, 600 pages, the first volume, so I'm just flipping through this thing, and all of a 
sudden, on one of the pages, there's this little, tiny picture of a police complaint.  And I look at 
this thing, and I...wait, this is it.  That's the police complaint, because it's chronologically and 
then there's the statement of Ernst Nichols, and I'm like, "here it is."  But that police complaint 
was real small, you couldn't read it.  So I contacted him immediately, and I said, "look, here's 

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who I am, this is what I'm doing, please do me a big favor, if you could, you know, send me this 
complaint, it would be a big help.  And literally, the next day, he sent me the complaint along 
with a couple other things that he had.  So now I have the complaint in hand, and I'm going, 
"wow, alright, I have a primary piece of evidence to go to Maple Shade and tell them, you know, 
here it is." But as you're sitting there looking at it, I'm just looking and looking, and I read every 
biography that I could get my hands, and I see the Camden address.  Something, something 
strange there.  And since I read all these articles, Thomas McGann, in one of his articles, had 
said that when he heard King talk at the Senate hearing, King said that while he was staying with 
a friend in Camden, you know, he was refused service at this restaurant, and that's what got him 
involved in civil rights.  And that quote stuck in my head, and I'm like, "wait, he's staying in 
Camden," and now a Camden address, so maybe he was in Camden. 
So I call Maple Shade, I say, listen, "I've got the primary source, but even better I've got this 
address," you know, and they don't care about it.  I send a fax to 'em. 
MCDONALD: Can I ask one other question?  So the iteration that we normally see is one where 
the address is crossed out.  Is that the version that you also saw? 
DUFF:  Yes, absolutely, because that's the version that they had.  And you know what else is 
crossed out on the document.  Look at the document, the top right portion where it says, "serving 
alcoholic beverages," alcohol is crossed out, because alcoholic that wasn't a part of the 
statute.  You can't add a word to the statute and create your own statute, you know.  And I was 
just at a court hearing yesterday, and watching that, and that's what they were doing there.  They 
were trying, on the actual police complaint, to incriminate, and also intimidate people to not want 
to make the complaint.  So the complaint was not legal in that sense, so that’s why the judge 
redacted that.  At least any attorney I talked to says, on a complaint, the only one that can redact 
anything is a judge. 
O'HARA:  If I remember, the alcoholic redaction was done on a typewriter, like a typewriter was 
used to X out the word alcoholic. 
DUFF: The original one I have is a double-line through it. 
O'HARA: I have it, actually. 
DUFF: Yeah, it looks like a double line. 
O'HARA: We can look at it. 
DUFF: But even if... 
O'HARA: I was wondering if there were two... 
DUFF: So here's my theory... 
O'HARA: ...two incidents of redaction at two different points. 

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DUFF: And there may have been, and you know when the first one might have been is when 
Ulysses Wiggins shows up at the Maple Shade police department that night.  Because Benjamin 
Hunt says very clearly in the '81 article that they were arrested that night, and that they had to 
call some doctor to come get them out of trouble.  Now, he's the only person that knew what 
happened that night outside of King, McCall, Pearl Smith, you know.  So, he'd be a good person 
to be able to listen to, so say they went to the police station and said "hey, we want to press 
charges," by the way, I've been in trouble in Maple Shade before when I was a kid, and they 
literally tell you "get out of town, don't come back," and it was the Maple Shade kids that 
attacked us.  They refused, I mean, so it's a very tight town.   
So what I think happened is when Wiggins shows up at this police station, because they call 'em 
because, either they won't charge 'em, or they're not charging them properly, or they're 
threatening them, Wiggins comes in and says "listen, listen the 1947 law that you guys are 
drafting, I helped that, I actually put that on the books with the New Jersey legislature, you 
know, do you understand that the crime was committed here, you need to go arrest this 
guy."  That's why it's an hour and 15 minutes from when they walked in at 11:30pm to when an 
actual complaint was filed.  So my theory is, plus it takes 20 minutes to drive from Wiggins' 
house to Maple Shade. So, they get down to the police station, what, 11:45pm, you saw my 
timeline, kind of how it is.  So I think happened that night is a lot more than especially what 
Pearl Smith says in her interview.  You know, because she's really vague in her interview.  And 
the only thing she really does in that interview is she incriminates, she incriminates McCall.  You 
know it's clear, I mean she's a police officer at the time.  The interview is two-and-a-half months 
later... 
MCDONALD: This is the published piece?  You mean the Inquirer
DUFF:  No, so Pearl Smith gave an interview to Clifford B. King two and a half months after the 
incident.  Why would she give an interview two and a half months after the incident to a 
detective when she knows she's incriminating someone in the interview?  And, if you look at the 
interview, the interview doesn't incriminate the bartender hardly, doesn't say what he said, 
doesn't say where he pointed the gun, doesn't, you know, go into any of that.  But he's very clear 
to say what night it is, it's a Sunday, cause she says a Saturday, and he says, "no, you're sure it 
was a Sunday, right...oh right, it was Sunday."  And then the time, "what time did you walk 
in…11:30pm," when then you're after 10pm.  What did you ask to buy, "1 or 2 quarts of 
beer."  What are 1 or 2 quarts of beer considered--packaged goods.  So, the reason why I believe 
it was thrown out at the grand jury, and Thomas McGann says it too, is that King and McCall 
didn't show up. 
MCDONALD: Right, that's what he suggests, right. 
DUFF: And McGann, if you can ever get a hold of this girl, her name is Rebecca...she's the one 
that wrote the Mary's Cafe piece... 
MCDONALD: A Rutgers student, she was an undergraduate student. 
DUFF: Yes, so she has a 30-minute taped interview with McGann, she was going to turn it over 
to me.  She never did.  She like, I don't know what happened.  I have no idea what 

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happened.  She just completely lost communication with me.  I emailed her, I said "please, you 
don't understand what this means," and she said McGann very clearly said he stopped giving 
interviews with any historian because the King Center went along with the story of these three 
white witnesses not showing up, and he said "that's the very opposite of what happened, and the 
very opposite of what's going to really create racial unity.”  You know, you're going from saying 
"hey, we didn't show up to saying these three white people didn't show up, and that hurts it even 
more,” and McGann was bitter, very bitter about that, that's what Rebecca Carole said.  And he 
refused, every time called him up to give an interview, but she was friends with one of his 
daughters, or somehow got a family allowed him to interview him.  So, I think that's important, I 
think that's really important, because, you know, why was it hidden, was the question. 
MCDONALD: Well, let's go back. You'd actually started down one track, which was Pearl 
Smith's interview.  But you didn't quite finish the thought.  So why do you think she did the 
interview two and a half months later? 
DUFF:  I think she did the interview because she was trying to get back at McCall.  And I think 
McCall, I've several different sources, one being Jimmy Beshai, who was his roommate at 
Crozier, said that McCall's senior year he had a bastardy charge against him.  That, a woman, 
and he said Pearl sounds like it could be the name, he didn't confirm it, but a woman charged him 
with bastardy.  That a Crozier professor testified on his behalf at trial and said it's impossible for 
him to be the father because, if he was he would take responsibility because he was such a good, 
upstanding young man, you know, and he’s a seminarian student.  So the professor went and 
testified on behalf of him.  This is, by the way, in Taylor Branch's book, Parting the Waters, it's 
not just be quoting this. But what only I have, that Taylor Branch doesn't have, is, and Clayborne 
Carson gave this to me, is the letter from McCall to King in 1954, and he says "I gave Pearl $50 
with the hope of her leaving me alone and taking the baby to California and never talking to me, 
but only gave her the hopes of wanting to marry me." So he's very clearly admitting to this baby 
being his, now she's, I found her, you know, almost a year after the incident in Maple Shade 
being arrested for, you know, disorderly persons because someone, she thought someone stole 
$20 from her.  So they suspended her for three months from the police force.  You know, wo 
maybe she was a difficult person to deal with, who knows, but McCall didn't want nothing to do 
with her, and she had his baby.  And I think that what she did was, when he walked away from 
her, she said "oh yeah," and she walked in and gave an interview with Clifford Gain, who is the 
Burlington County detective, and it took that case, which they were probably, I mean, imagine 
you're young seminarians and you’re, this is your first civil rights incident and, you know, you 
have the upper hand.  It's the first time you ever had the law on your side. 
McDONALD: Why do you think they were with her that evening to begin with? 
DUFF:  I think McCall was her date.  She was, by the way, the second African American 
Philadelphia police woman.  So it's not like, she's... 
MCDONALD: I know, I'm a little surprised that she spent the evening with two seminarians. 
DUFF: Yeah, but they were well-known to be lady grabbers.  I mean they were very prolific, I 
mean if you read Branch's book, you'll see that they would go downtown and they liked mostly 
light-skinned women or white women.  He was dating a woman named Betty Motes in school, 

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you know, and he wanted to marry her. And everyone said, “you can't marry this woman.”  So, I 
think a culmination of things that happened to King while he was at Crozier created what he was. 
I mean, you fall in love, you can't marry a woman, you go to restaurant, you're tossed out—with 
a gun.  You try to take it to the jury, and you can't even get that done, you know what I 
mean.  So, I mean think about this, that frustrates somebody. And I think that King's later 
statements show, or at least the statement to Benjamin Hunt where he said they were out with a 
group of boys that night, that’s showing that there's a cover up about who they were with, and a 
statement in the Philadelphia Tribune article from 1961 very clearly says that he was with 
Reverend Ray McCall and Reverend Ray Ware. Now Reverend Ray Ware was never mentioned 
anywhere near the incident.  You can't find it in any history books.  You can’t find…you do a 
search of Reverend Ware and he's almost non-existent, you know. So, even 11 years later he’s 
purposefully covering up what happened, and I think that’s to protect his friend. 
MCDONALD: McCall? 
DUFF: McCall. And I think that’s why he would only talk about the Maple Sade incident very 
rarely, but if you look at…did you see the 1976 article by George Anastasia, and in it the SCLC, 
you know, president but I think he wouldn’t talk about it in public as often, because he was 
trying to protect McCall.  It’s his best friend. 
O’HARA: And the letter you have from McCall to King stating that Pearl went to California and 
had the baby and then returned, I assume. 
DUFF: No, he gave her $50 for the hope she’d never return. 
O’HARA: But then you said she was arrested a year later for disorderly conduct. 
DUFF: That was in 1954 that the letter from McCall was sent to King.  In 1951 was when she, 
end of 1950, was when she was arrested, it was December of 1950.  It was actually December 
31, it was New Year’s Eve, she got arrested in 1950, so it was the same year, was what 8 months, 
9 months later. 
O’HARA: Then four years later, McCall writes to King about Pearl Smith. 
DUFF: About Pearl Smith. And by the way, Pearl Smith was a, what do they call them, ex-
WAC, what is that a woman… 
O’HARA: Auxiliary Core. 
DUFF: Auxiliary Core.  And McCall was in the military. Now they both came up from Atlanta at 
almost the same time. So you almost think maybe there was a relationship there prior. Now she 
also is listed as Mrs. Pearl Smith. You know, who is she married to, I don’t know, you know 
what I mean?  I did find a… 
O’HARA: Why would McCall wait that long to inform King about her earlier pregnancy? 

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DUFF: I don’t think he’s waiting that long, I think he’s just telling him the update. Just giving 
him an update, “Listen I gave her $50 in hopes she’d go away, and I’m thinking…” 
O’HARA: Is he referring to giving her $50 in 1951? 
DUFF: 1954. 
O’HARA: Oh, so he continued to see her after the fact. 
DUFF: Do you want me to pull it up? 
O’HARA: That would be great, and sending it to me would be great too.  So he informed King, 
so he continued to see Pearl Smith, in your estimation, after 1951, even thought she sold him out 
in the interview. 
DUFF: I think so, yeah, I think they had some kind of continued relationship, especially based on 
the fact that she probably had his baby. Once somebody’s got your baby, and you’re looking at 
your baby, you probably, it probably hurts you a little bit, maybe, I have no idea. 
O’HARA:  But when would the baby have been born? 
DUFF: The baby would have probably been born some time in 1950, during the year 1950 is 
what I’m guessing. 
O’HARA: But he doesn’t give her the $50 to hope she gets lost until three years later… 
DUFF: Because my only thought is why does she go and give that interview, you know.  So the 
only thing I’m doing is complete speculation, but the speculation is that if she was pregnant at 
that time, and he did exactly what he does later in ’54, and he was doing that in 1950, she was 
pissed.  And if you read the arrest article, she went off on these people, thinking they stole $20 
from her, you know, she let them have it. So, you know, I mean, a woman scorned. It’s just an 
interesting, it’s an interesting layer to the story, because there was something there.  I knew 
something was there, because it’s such an important incident in his life.  I mean he talked about 
it, later, in that article, I mean imagine someone says, “who are your inspirations,” Jesus, Ghandi, 
and, actually, I experienced my own, you know, racial discrimination right over across the bridge 
here.  I mean, it flows from Jesus, to Ghandi, to that incident.  I mean, so if that’s incident’s not 
significant to him, why is he talkin g about it 11 years later, you know?  Why does he, what 
about the first sit in comment, I mean that…he says, he says clearly it was a very painful 
experience because we decided to sit in, I mean, you can’t misconstrue that comment.  That’s 
exactly what they did, I mean he told them to leave, they refused to get up.  Pearl Smith says 
that, basically when they refused to get up is when he got pissed, you know, so… 
But as to where I got most of the information, or where I researched, I’ve dug everywhere.  I’ve 
gone to prosecutor’s offices in Burlington County, because that’s the county it was in, I’ve gone 
down to down to Delaware to where he could have got a ticket.  You want to hear something 
crazy? So he has this ticket he could have had in Delaware, I go all the way down there, the 
tickets not there and I’m just pissed, you know, so upset, and as I’m pulling out, I see the place is 

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on Martin Luther King Drive.  Alright. And I keep going, keep moving. Because the state was 
telling me, if I can get that ticket, which that was the interesting thing, was the state’s argument.  
They wanted to see how long he lived there; with a ticket, it was literally four days after the 
incident.  So, what am I proving he lived there four days, with the ticket?  When I was driving 
down I thought, Jesus Christ, why am I doing driving for this ticket, but if I got the ticket that 
would be cool.   
So I’ve gone from, I’ve paid people to go to the archives in Boston, I’ve paid for researchers to 
go up there and get research from me, you know, any article, anything that was from Ulysses 
Wiggins to King, I’ve got all those transcribed, which none of those mention the incident.  But 
there’s something up there.  I’m going to Boston, actually, next month.  And I’m going to 
spending, I’m going to spend, three or four hours in that archive, and I bet you I find something. 
MCDONALD: Let me ask you a question, so putting aside the oral histories for just a moment, 
because we’re going to come to those later this afternoon, putting those aside, besides the court 
complaint, is there any other documentary evidence that affiliates King with 753 Walnut? 
DUFF: No, just the two documents from the complaint. That’s it. Because, at this point, what 
would connect them?  He was staying there free, he wasn’t paying rent, it was a free room for 
them to stay in whenever they wanted. His home address from Crozier is listed as Atlanta.  You 
know, but, I mean, think about it, you’re in 1950 and you’re a young black man, and you’re at 
the police and you’re not going to give them a fake address.  You know what I mean? What’s 
also important about what happened is that, in the newspaper articles about the event, he changed 
his name. 
MCDONALD: Yeah, and they list the address for the other two women, but they don’t list the 
address for the two men. 
DUFF: No, but when he changes his name, understand that I’ve got 20 articles from the same 
period of time where it says Martin Luther King, Jr. or Martin K., Jr., whatever it is, you know, it 
was very specific Martin.  Same exact time, same period of time, but in these two Philadelphia 
Tribune
 articles he’s Michael, and then in the Baltimore Afro-American article which, at that 
time, and still is, was a national African-American paper where anybody who was big in the 
African-American community, which his father was, would have picked that paper up, he was 
completely left out of the paper.  Look his name is not even in it.  McCall’s name is there, Pearl 
Smith’s named there, Doris Wilson, but he’s mysteriously left out.  So maybe when he was 
talking to the reporters, he’s like “listen do me a favor, ixna on the name-a, you know what I 
mean,” because he’s not in there. 
MCDONALD: Why would he have been able to convince them to do that, do you think? 
DUFF: I don’t know. Who knows? Or maybe he wasn’t there at that hearing, when the Baltimore 
Afro-American
 came.  Because remember there was a couple of different hearings.  So, and 
maybe the Baltimore Afro-American approached Ulysses Wiggins, remember King was during 
the summer of 1950, a lot of it he was in Atlanta preaching. So, if this case is going on, McCall’s 
the one taking this case on, at that point. So a reporter calls Ulysses Wiggins and says ,“hey, you 
know, who was there that night, you know.” McCall knowing that King’s dad would freak out, 

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says, “listen, it was me and a girl named Pearl Smith and Doris Wilson.” What does a reporter 
know?  Reporter only knows what they report. 
MCDONALD: Why do you think that some of the articles changed the name? 
DUFF: I think he gave them that name.  I think he specifically gave them the name. 
MCODNLAD: Michael? 
DUFF: Yeah, absolutely. 
MCDONALD: Wouldn’t his father have known from his affiliation with Walter McCall who it 
really was? 
DUFF: Philadelphia Tribune wasn’t a national paper.  At that time, at least.  Still not a national 
paper for the African-American community So, I mean, that’s just a theory, but I just know that 
if his dad knew he was out…actually, his dad knew he was doing things, by the way.  When his 
dad came up for, if you read Garrow’s book, it was…or it was Grantz’s book, there was a pool 
hall below Crozier, and he was down there playing pool and smoking cigarettes in front of his 
dad, and his brother is like “yo, dad. How are you letting this happen?”  And his dad is, like, 
furious, but he can’t do anything.  He’s trying to give his son the independence he needs… 
MCDONALD: He was young. 
O’HARA: Have you ever tried to find the senate testimony that Thomas McGann was referring 
to? 
DUFF: Oh yes, oh yes. 
O’HARA: And how did that go? 
DUFF: I’ve contacted them, I’ve now contacted people in the Senate, what do you call that, the 
archives. I’ve contacted so many people.  I’ve contacted the people who have the Lewis, what’s 
the name of the radio host again. 
O’HARA: Fulton Lewis. 
DUFF: Fulton Lewis, Jr. The archives in Syracuse.  So I’ve contacted them and tried to see if 
they could find it.  They didn’t have any luck. I was going to go there, but then I saw the, I mean, 
oh my God, you want to talk about a voluminous, lengthy…it was literally years of radio shows.  
So how are you going to sit there and listen to years of radio shows to be able to find it. 
O’HARA: Again, the problem is to find something that might not be there at all, which is kind of 
the whole problem with this research project, is seeking something we don’t know if it’s there.  
You’re sorting through things looking for, really, a needle in a haystack. 

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DUFF: So McGann’s comments, and Robert Burke Johnson’s comments are also very similar. 
So Robert Burke Johnson sends you a wild goose chase.  Did you see his comments? 
MCDONALD: I don’t think I have. 
O’HARA: We do have him, but refresh me and I’ll remember. 
DUFF:  In the book, he was reading one of Martin Luther King’s books, and he read about the 
incident, and he’s like,  “Oh my God,” he put two and two together.  Well, I’ve read that whole 
book, and it’s not in that book. 
O’HARA: That created a stumbling block for me at one point too as I searched for that. 
DUFF: So something happened, you’ve got McGann, you’ve got, what do you call it, Burke 
Johnson, they see him on TV and they’re like, “oh my god, is that that guy?”  You know, they 
had to put two and two together somehow. And both of them have a different story about how 
they heard about it, and neither story seems to add up.  It’s crazy right? I’m telling you, it’s like, 
I’m telling you, it’s such a wild goose chase.  It’s been so much fun, it really has. 
O’HARA: But then you said after his death people started writing about it, would that be a result 
of… 
DUFF:  No, after his death, people stopped writing about it mostly.  And only a certain amount 
of books have been released, and most of the books without the family’s permission, have been 
released with the Maple Shade incident.  Look at the King archives in Atlanta, there’s not one 
piece of Maple Shade in there. 
O’HARA: I’m thinking of the Zapp book mentions it. 1974…is that the earliest one? 
DUFF: I’m not sure, I don’t know which book that is. But I can say, you know, that books have 
mentioned what you’re talking about--short, tiny paragraphs about it, and… 
MCDONALD: Right, even in earlier treatments it’s not really, quite frankly, given fulsome 
treatment. 
DUFF:  Well, the best detailed account in any book is by, I can’t believe I can’t remember his 
name, it was called A Man, A Myth, let me see…and that book very specifically kind of spells 
out what happened.  That King was driving, they were in the car, McCall says “I’m getting 
hungry,” you know, so they find a restaurant, they pull in.  So I mean, you know, it’s funny 
because when you first start looking at this you’re thinking about what happened, now you’ve 
got all the information and you can kind of make up what happened.  You can kind of with three 
or four different stories of how it happened. 
MCDONALD: What, just to back up for a second, so in that rendition, because there is some 
discussion about whether or not this was an event that happened to him, and may have 
galvanized his future intellectual development, or was an activity that this group met and 
strategically planned.  The account that you’re reading seems to imply the former, not the latter. 

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DUFF: But that, I will be honest with you, Thelma, who—she’s not going to go on tape—she’s 
not going to talk to anybody, but she’s talked to me.  She is the sister-in-law of Jeannette Hunt, 
of the person we’re going to go see after this, Mrs. Hunt.  She said “Daddy told him, don’t go to 
Maple Shade.  He told him many of times, they’re racist and they won’t serve you.” Now, he is 
an antagonist, I mean that’s what he’s done later in his career, I mean. So, 1947 law is on his 
side, he finds out this restaurant, or this town, is racist, decides maybe, you know what, I got a 
police officer with me, I got a social worker, you know, maybe they all talked about it together, 
said “let’s go down there and see what happens.” 
MCDONALD: But we don’t have anything that actually demonstrates that. 
DUFF: We have Thelma, who said her father, you know, and I’m sure if you talk to her nicely, 
I’d give you her phone number, she’d probably do an interview. I’m sure she would, you know. 
If you just give her a call.  And it’s funny, because when I first started doing this, and I went to 
Frank, I mean I’ve been to every city person you can believe, all the congress people, senators, 
who sat down and talked and had bit meetings.  And when I first started doing this I sat with 
Frank Moran, who’s the city council president, and he’s going to be the mayor, because that’s 
just how it works there, there’s no real election, Frank Moran said what he would consider doing 
taking the taxes that are owed on the property next to it and alleviating her of all the taxes, so 
that she just gives the house up, so we can restore both houses at one time.  So that’s when I first 
contacted her and she’s like “yes, absolutely, I’d really, you know, that’s something I’d 
consider.” Now her son’s living in there right now. The home is $153,000 in back taxes and 
penalties. 
MCDONALD: Thelma’s home? 
DUFF: Thelma’s. The tax was on 755 Walnut, and they’re attached to each other.  And at the 
time King stayed there, Hunt owned both homes.  And it was kind of like an in-and-out kind of 
place, so he was in both residences.  But… 
MCDONALD: Can we pause here for a moment?  Because that’s one of the most difficult things 
to grapple with.  So there’s a supposition that because he’s friends with McCall, he’s utilizing 
these spaces, and there’s that one police, or the court complaint, that has that address listed.  But 
is there anything else that puts him in that location? 
DUFF: There’s Mrs. Hunt. 
MCDONALD: Beyond the oral history. 
DUFF: Yeah, the 1981 article. 
MCDONALD: Again, oral history.  Do we have any documentary evidence? 
DUFF: No. No.   
MCDONALD: That’s what we’re struggling with. 

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DUFF: We have two primary sources pieces of evidence.  We have two pieces of police 
complaints.  That’s it. 
MCDONALD: Let me just pause it for a moment, since we’re talking about suppositions. 
DUFF: But, by the way, just so you understand, that police complaint was not available to the 
public until after 1988.  The article from 1981 was Mr. Hunt.  How could he have known about 
anything in it? 
MCDONALD: No, I think, I…I can’t go to far into what I’m saying.  But during the time of that 
particular incident, right, the Maple Shade incident that night and maybe for the days on either 
side, I think there’s a strong supposition maybe that could be made for him being in that location.  
I’m asking is there anything else, besides Hunt’s interview that puts him in 753. 
DUFF: No. Just another person’s interview, Donald “Ducky” Birts, who, when he met King he 
said “where are you from,” and he said, “I’m from Camden,” and King said “well, I used to live 
in Camden, right on Walnut Street between 7th and 8th.” And Ducky never forgot that, so I 
interviewed Ducky and I put that on tape and you probably already have that. 
MCDONALD: Yeah, we have that. 
DUFF: But that’s it.  There’s McGann saying “while staying with friends in Camden,” so, but I 
think the key to that…. 
MCDONALD: “While staying with friends in Camden,” is that really affiliated with the time 
period of that’ really related to the Maple Shade incident that’s still a relatively narrow 
chronological time period that we’re considering. 
DUFF: You’re correct, you’re correct.  But how narrow? 
O’HARA: And it’s McGann saying that he heard a radio host who heard King say… 
DUFF: You’re correct 
O’HARA: …to a senator that he was staying with riends in Camden.  We can’t find that Senate 
testimony where King even says that in his own words, right? 
DUFF: That’s why I think it would be great to get McGann’s tape, that tpae from McGann to 
hear exactly what he says.  Because that’s what a reporter reported. And another reporter heard it 
differently than that. 
O’HARA: Do you have any sense of why Rebecca Carole has withheld the tape from attempts to 
get it? 
DUFF: I do now know. She is definitely an interesting person to say the least.  I mean I’ve talked 
to somebody else that knew her and they said it’s going to be kind of weird dealing with her.  I 
mean, the night I first talked to her, she was gung-ho, we were going to sit down, put the box on 

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the table and go at it, you know.  And then the next day I contacted her and it was devoid of any 
contact. That tape is uh…that’s the tape.  If we get that tape it would tell us so much.  I mean, 
she thinks it doesn’t tell us anything.  I mean, I told her, “you have no idea, it’s a very valuable 
historic evidence you have there.” 
O’HARA: Where is McGann now? 
DUFF: He’s dead. Yeah, he’s been long dead.  Died in, I think, 2002? Or something like that.  
And I got a lot of stuff from his family members; his daughter’s name Joan McGoff now, and 
she sent me a whole bunch of stuff that you guys definitely already have. But no, there’s nothing 
else to connect him to the Camden property. 
MCDONALD: Okay. 
DUFF: Did you find anything? (laughter) Come on, tell me! 
MCDONALD: That’s been the biggest challenge, any discussion about that property is always 
done in a really…if there’s any suggestion of affiliation it’s all very informal.  You know, it’s 
hard to pin down.  How often do we pin down when we go to visit a friend’s house? What 
evidence is there of that, unless he described it in a letter or… 
DUFF:  When I was 21 years old I was staying in Philadelphia. I had a house there and my 
friend, it was his house, I stayed with him and rented a room, you know what I mean, nobody 
would have any record of me living at that house.  But I lived there for two years of my life, you 
know what I mean? So there is a lot of people, especially when they’re younger in life that 
there’s no need to keep records.  What would the records be needed for? The other thing , the 
thing about this, why wouldn’t the Burlington County NAACP handle it if Maple Shade’s in 
Burlington County? Why is the Camden NAACP handling this?  Where does Wiggins live, do 
you know where he lived?  He lived at 4th and, I can’t remember the street, but it’s four blocks 
from the Walnut Street house. The Newton Street house, do you know what the Newton Street 
house is? So in the Newton Street house, there was somebody that thought he lived there before.  
MCDONALD: Oh yes, the prior case… 
DUFF: Well, the resident who lived there, never said he lived there.  Only said he visited there. 
So the Newton Street house is a block from the Walnut Street house. Now where there’s smoke, 
there’s fire.  I mean you’ve got several different things that show that the police report…the 
church, in Camden.  Why is he preaching at a church in Camden in 1951? 
O’HARA: Wasn’t Barber a pastor at a Camden church at one time? 
MCDONALD: Yeah, he was. 
DUFF: The pastor at this church was actually a fellow Crozier seminarian student.  He’s the 
one…his name was Lloyd Burrs, which, you know what’s crazy, I found in 1950 Lloyd Burrs 
was also hit with a bastardy suit.  He was also sued for bastardy.  But Burrs became the pastor at 
that church in 1950…the year of 1950. Lloyd A. Burrs was his name.  So that church, he not 

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only preached there in 1951, he came back there and visited in 1952, or at least that ‘s what the 
newspaper article states, right. 
O’HARA: Another thing, was he close to the Hunts? King himself, to Benjamin Hunt? Or to the 
Hunt family. 
DUFF: Uh-uh. 
O’HARA: So no, and the relationship between the Hunts and McCall is… 
DUFF: Well, he died in 1976, so…I mean, kind of non-existent.   
O’HARA: Was it a family relationship? 
DUFF: Yes, cousins, first cousins. 
O’HARA: Has that ever been, like, documented in any way like a family tree kind of thing? 
DUFF: No, how would you document it? 
O’HARA: Ancestry records, birth records, those kinds of things would be my guess. 
DUFF: Maybe she has that, we could ask her today.  You know you’re going to go to the source. 
Now, I think the most interesting thing, and this is where I see this, it’s the time of that police 
complaint.  So, if the police complaint were out in the early ’70s, whatever it may be, and it was 
public knowledge the, Hunt’s story could be coerced by the police complaint, seeing his address 
on there, knowing its there, but you can’t find, I can’t find it, there’s nobody that can find 
anything before this time.  You look at the chain of custody on the police complaint.  Very 
specifically says 1988 that it was entered into the Stanford Archives.  It was only entered into the 
Stanford Archives because Clayborne Carson read that article, “The Bar that Began the 
Crusade,” and he said “whoa, whoa, whoa, what is that?”  So Clayborne Carson sought that out, 
that wasn’t something that was like given freely, and he called Thomas McGann, because he saw 
McGann’s name in the article and said “listen, I’m a historian, I’d love to work with you,” And 
during that time is when McGann started getting his story.  Clayborne Carson knows that 
McGann’s story is different, plenty of historians know that McGann’s story is different from 
what they told because they interviewed him, and that’s when he said, “you know what, I’m 
done. You’re not telling the truth.” So I think that if you add everything up, you know… 
MCDONALD: McGann said to Carson, “I’d done”? 
DUFF: I’m done.  He said to all reporters and historians, he didn’t want to talk about it anymore 
and he started writing his own articles.  Look at how many articles.  He wrote 14 articles?  I 
mean that’s a lot. I guarantee he’s got stuff out there that we can’t find, because the internet 
doesn’t show all of New Jersey lawyer magazines, things like that.  There’s stuff out there that 
he wrote.  She actually, is coming back from vacation, Joan Lagath, and she was going to let me 
tear into his files. 

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O’HARA: What’s her name again? 
DUFF: Joan Lagath. 
O’HARA: Can you spell the last name? 
DUFF: LAGATH 
O’HARA: Thank you. 
DUFF: Oh, I hunted her too, because I found her in an article, in a lawyer magazine (phone 
rings…it’s okay, it goes downstairs), a portrait of a judge, and there was a mystery of who this 
judge was.  This person was driving by a trash heap and saw this big, beautiful portrait of a 
judge, and they grabbed the portrait of the judge and they brought it to their law office.  And the 
person was who was like the head of the office was like “That’s Judge McGann.” So now this 
guy’s got the portrait, he calls, her name is like Caitlin something, I forget her name, calls her, so 
now I’ve got the names, you know what I mean. So I contact her law office and was “hey, your 
grandfather was involved in a really interesting incident, I would like to know more about it.” 
“Listen, I don’t know nothing about it, but my mom does.” So she sent me to her mom, Joan 
Lagath, and she was like “what do you need?” I said, “send me everything you got.”  And 
literally, in minutes, she sent it right over.  So, it’s funny because each kind of road I find 
sometimes just a complete dead end. And sometimes it’s, you know, a wealth of information, 
you know. I mean nobody knew, really, that, nobody figured out, I don’t think, except for 
Branch, that something was going on in Maple Shade.  Like there’s something, some reason, and 
that’s like he alludes to it in his book.  Read his book, he says that McCall all but admits to 
getting the girl pregnant but he doesn’t put two and two together with Maple Shade.  So I think 
it’s all coming together now as to why.  And Clayborne Carson agrees, Jimmy Beshai agrees, 
who was his roommate. I sent him the timeline, and he says, “Patrick, I can’t disagree with this.”  
And you knew him, you know what I mean? And he was off campus a lot. 
MCDONALD: Who was? 
DUFF: Jimmy Beshai said that King and McCall were off campus…he said that they were 
absolutely inseparable.  Where McCall went, King went. Now I have a theory behind that.  
McCall was poor, by the way, the reason why he…oh…by the way, something else does put 
them in Camden.  McCall’s interview with Herbert Holmes.  Very specifically, he says that 
during the summer months of 1950, I’m sorry 1948, he worked in the Camden school district. 
MCDONALD: Right… 
DUFF: So, where is he staying? Well guess who his good friend was?  Robert Burke Johnson, he 
was a member of the school board.  So it makes sense, so he knew Johnson already, got him a 
job at the school board.  All of a sudden he gets in Maple Shade and, guess what, he goes back to 
Johnson, “hey, I got some trouble,” you know…. 
O’HARA: In that same interview, McCall says he, let me try to remember how this went, 
McCall says that he lived in Philadelphia before he went into the army, is that correct? 

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DUFF: Uh huh. 
O’HARA: And then after he came back form the army he went to Morehouse his freshman year.  
But after his freshman year, he says, and I think I’m quoting, he says “I spent the rest of my time 
at Morehouse living in Philadelphia….the rest of my tenure at Morehouse while living in 
Philadelphia.” 
DUFF:  Well, I didn’t, I don’t think I read into that part. 
O’HARA: So, I was thinking, I’m assuming that he stayed at Morehouse, but he has a residence 
somewhere in this area. 
DUFF: Maybe. 
O’HARA: So do you have any sense of his residency between up until he entered the war and 
’44, I think, and then after he came back and went to Morehouse? 
DUFF: Maybe Pearl.  I didn’t look as much, I mean I looked at lot at McCall don’t get me 
wrong, trying to find stuff on McCall, but I’ve been looking for Pearl.  I mean, that’s why when I 
found that interview… 
O’HARA: Tough name to track down. 
DUFF: Really tough name.  She got married in 1953 and changed her name to Pearl Reed, I 
found that.  
O’HARA: REED? 
DUFF: REID. 
MCDONALD: So she gets married in 1953, and in 1954 is when she might presumably still be 
contact with McCall? Okay. 
DUFF: It’s odd, yes. But remember she’s Mrs. Pearl Smith and she’s out on a date.  So who 
knows what’s happening? You know, what’s in her head or whose head, or who knows if that’s 
the same Pearl too? You now what I mean.  It’s pure speculation, but my thing is why does she 
go to the police and give an interview.  By the way, Clifford Kane at the same time was facing an 
indictment.  Clifford Kane was the guy interviewing her, for covering up the casino down the 
street.  You know, so it’s like, you know the guy who doesn’t care about the casino down the 
street was getting an interview and was trying to incriminate some guy for buying alcohol on a 
Sunday.  Think about that!  Right now there’s a guy, they call him New Jersey weed man.  He’s 
on trial for witness intimidation.  That’s where I was yesterday, I was witnessing the trial so I 
could see what the crime was.  Well, they went through their whole opening, and they drew their 
whole first witness, which was the detective, and they never stated the crime.  Everything he did 
was absolutely protected by the first amendment.  He is in jail for a complete narrative that 
makes a crime, not a crime within a narrative.  You understand?  They are trying to make an 
overall, he served a guy with a lawsuit.  Now is that a part of the crime, when you have to serve 

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someone a lawsuit? You can’t find them, you serve them somewhere else.  He was served at his 
dad’s house. That’s not a crime.  And they’re acting like it’s a crime, and I’m going “where do 
we live, you know.” So, you never know what really happens in any court case. Truth is not a 
part of court, by the way.  It’s actually not even allowed in court.  Think about it.  I’m being 
honest with you.  Have you ever been through a court case? In a trial, a criminal trial? 
MCDONALD: I was a jury foreman last year. 
O’HARA: Figures. 
DUFF: Okay, you’re a jury foreman.  You don’t get to see what happens in court.  It’s what 
happens is when you guys get taken out of court is when the real court happens. And you can’t 
talk about that.  You can’t talk about this. Well, that’s a part of the story.  Well, that’s 
prejudicial.  To who?  To, me, court is something that is manipulated from front to back.  That’s 
why what I think happened, the reason why I mentioned this, is that you have two young black 
men, going to a grand jury, where somebody just gave a witness statement incriminating one of 
them.  Now you’ve got Robert Burke Johnson, who’s a very well-trained lawyer, wound up 
being the first African American in the New Jersey Supreme Court, so he’s definitely not a 
dummy, he’s an intelligent person, who sees this document and says “yo, you got a problem 
here.  If we walk into this grand jury, this all white grand jury, we don’t have a civil rights act, 
we don’t have anything to protect us here, you’re going to get convicted of buying alcohol on a 
Sunday.  You’re going to be indicted.  They’re going to indict him too, for not serving you, but 
it’s going to be a he-said-she-said, what do you want to do?”  What would you do? 
O’HARA: I don’t know.  Could one speculate that the civil rights implications of King’s effort, 
if indeed he tried to bring a civil rights case, and saw it as a civil rights case, or conceived of it as 
a sit-in, or did it deliberately for any reason to bring a civil rights case to the forefront, that this 
wouldn’t intimidate him very much, the threat of being charged with buying alcohol on a 
Sunday? 
DUFF:  No, no, and I’m going to tell you why.  Think about what he does later. He has to make 
sure that the person that they pick as the person, and one person you pick, Rosa Parks, was the 
perfect person.  They passed on several people in Montgomery to use as the proper defendant.  
They had to find the perfect defendant.  He learned from that case that, number one, four 
defendants is messy.  You can’t have four people going and trying to fight something that you 
could have differences amongst them, right? 
O’HARA: In other words, if he were indicted for buying alcohol on a Sunday, that in and of 
itself would be another moment where he could exploit the publicity for a civil rights gain. 
DUFF:  It could be but he’s a seminary student at this time.  He’s indicted for buying alcohol on 
a Sunday and gets convicted, he’s going to get tossed out of school. He’s ruining his life. 
O’HARA: But his status as a seminarian didn’t prevent him, or preclude him , from bringing the 
whole, a deliberate case against Nichols… 

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DUFF: Well, remember that a deliberate case was brought, there was a case brought by the 
NAACP. So, you know, and I think, sometimes I think the case was brought by the NAACP to 
create some leverage after they got that statement. Because nobody knows when the lawsuit was 
filed.  They just say a lawsuit by the NAACP.  And also, if you look at the Baltimore Afro-
American
 article, and this is the most important thing about the Maple Shade incident, it’s really 
just not significant to King. It’s a very significant incident to south Jersey. Ulysses Wiggins, who 
goes on later to desegregate restaurants, movie theatres, and many places of public 
accommodation in south Jersey, says in the Baltimore Afro-American that this case, and I wish I 
could think…is going to basically, they’re going to launch a drive to desegregate places of public 
accommodation.  So the incident in Maple Shade’s not just the fact that you have the first 
African American supreme court justice as the attorney, the fact that Ulysses Wiggins is one of 
the most prolific African American civil rights leaders that’s been really unsung, you know, is 
the attorney, or is the NAACP leader, the second African-American police woman.  Here’s all 
these people culminating to this one event, in this little town of Maple Shade….it changed 
history.  It did, and what it did is planted a seed in him to, number one, it was the first time he 
had the law on his side, but it was a state law, right? So what happens with a state law, it gets 
superseded by federal law.  So what does he have to do?  He can’t just fight the state, he’s got to 
go to the federal government and get their assistance.  You have to have them help you beat the 
states, because states have racist governments and system, and he knew that.  And this is one 
example of it, you know.  So it’s the culmination of what happened to him in this area created an 
experience of “you know what, that line, the Mason Dixon line, doesn’t mean crap.” 
O’HARA: Were there other efforts at desegregation as part of that campaign to desegregate…the 
drive to desegregate n this area? Were there any other examples? 
DUFF: I don’t know, I just know that that’s the quote that he says, and that’s in 1950, and most 
of the desegregation that he did was later, in like ’57, ’58.  There are pictures of him in front of 
Woolworth’s, protesting in front of Woolworth’s.  You know what, his life would be such a 
really good movie.  I don’t know if you’ve really looked into Ulysses Wiggins much.  But I’ve 
read so much about him.  Like, there was 200 employees employed in the trades in Camden in 
1944.  But 1946, there was more than 2,000.  The NAACP, he restarted it in 1944, in Camden.  
By 1948, they had over 1,600 members, you know. They had the largest membership base of any 
NAACP in New Jersey.  He would send in wealthy African Americans into sections of Camden 
and fill out applications for houses to get refused so he could file lawsuits against them.  He 
desegregated Camden.  The school system in Camden, by the way, was desegregated in 1947, 
not 1954 with Brown v. Board of Education.  And if we really look into this, that’s what is the 
beginning of the disruption of Camden. Because the white flight went, the freeholders controlled 
the money, no road projects get funded, and no parks get funded, no blight gets funded, and 
Camden goes to hell because the progression and the ‘40s was so progressive, so fast, it caused 
such a fast, you know, outburst of the white people. And that’s where redlining came from in real 
estate, here we’re in a real estate office, all that was invented during that time because people 
were like “whoa, you can destroy a neighborhood.”  And Camden, there’s your perfect example, 
60 years later. What do we have, you know?  And that’s why it’s so frustrating to know that this 
CDC gets a $229, 000 grant and doesn’t tell the property owner or myself anything about it. It’s 
the story of Camden. 

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MCDONALD: Well, but do recognize that, for a fair amount of your conversation, it’s really the 
story of Maple Shade. 
DUFF:  It is, you’re correct, you’re correct. But the home, the building’s no longer there, so in 
any historic property, right, let’s say George Washington had a, or let’s just say the White House.  
The first White House, or the Liberty Bell, wherever that is, I mean not everything was exactly 
as it was.  Walt Whitman’s house, in Camden.  Do you know that the original Walt Whitman 
house burned down?  To the ground.  It wasn’t even the house that they have as the Walt 
Whitman house is the house that he died in.  He didn’t write any of his works in there.  Didn’t do 
any of the important stuff of Walt Whitman, right?  But that’s the building the represents Walt 
Whitman at this point because it’s the only one left.  The restaurant is gone, right, have you been 
to Crozier, to visit the seminary.  Did you get into the room? 
MCDONALD: There’s nothing…I know…no, I know. 
DUFF: So let’s think about this.  So what memories, what do we have to preserve his memories 
in this area.  Do you have anything? I don’t, except for the house, you know. And somebody 
already has $240,000 on the line to fix it. So that’s the only thing that connects Camden… 
MCDONALD: Well, he part of a, national, I mean, Crozier does actually have national register 
status for part of their building. 
DUFF: The building. 
MCDONALD: And there is an affiliation with Martin Luther King, in their… 
DUFF: But if you read the application, it’s not for attachment to a significant person.  He’s just a 
part of the application. 
MCODNAD: No, I know, I understand that. 
DUFF: And for the state to claim that that’s an attachment to him, that’s bogus.  That’s actually, 
that’s actually it’s incorrect. 
MCDONALD: Well, let me ask you a question. How many days do you think he spent at that 
property versus 753? 
DUFF:  Oh, many more, sure, sure. But where was he on the night that the incident happened in 
Maple Shade?  Since we’re all pointing to this incident, where was he?  He couldn’t have been at 
Crozier.  It was closed.  They went home for the summer.  It was closed for over a month on 
June 12th.  So where was he, you know?  He listed his own address as 753 Walnut Street, you 
know.  If you, if you… 
MCDONALD: And again, for that moment, for those days, I think that’s… 
DUFF: Or for that month. 

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MCDONALD: It’s hard to say, isn’t it? 
DUFF: Sure, except, and here’s what I like to say to people… 
MCDONALD: Because he did have, if you look at his documentary record, and I know I’m 
being bad here so give me 30 seconds and then pull me back if I don’t stop talking, but if you 
look at what has been published—what he published himself, and what has written by other 
historians who tracked his life—there are ample options where he did stay when he wasn’t in 
seminary, right?  Other families that he got to know, other people that he spent time with in 
Chester, Pennsylvania.  Why are we assuming that 753 is where he would have spent that 
month? 
DUFF: Why are you assuming anything other? 
MCDONALD: I’m not, I’m just saying you have prove it one way or the other, and if there are 
other options it becomes harder to demonstrate that this is the only place he could have been. 
DUFF: I can tell you that if you’re going to the bar, you’re doing, taking women out at night, 
you’re not going to be staying with Pastor Barbour. Absolutely not.  I don’t know if you know 
anything about the relationship between him and King, but he was a father figure to him.  He’s 
not going to be coming home at 1 o’clock in the morning, you know.  What Jimmy Beshai said, 
and I apologize, but Jimmy Beshai, this woman Theresa Pernot, who’s the head of park service, 
said she had a conversation with one of her employees, and I said “Please, can you get me in 
contact with her,” I said King would use this as his flop house, it was like his home away from 
home to get things done, and enjoy time away from school.  But that being said, also, 
Pennsylvania had no laws against segregation.  When he went out in Chester, he couldn’t pick 
the restaurant he wanted to go to, he had to go to the black only restaurant.  The white only 
restaurant around the corner was different.  He tried to go to a Stouffer’s restaurant there and 
they put sand in his food, in Philadelphia, right.  So where would you want to stay?  Would you 
want to stay somewhere where you weren’t wanted?  Or would you want to stay in Camden, the 
most progressive city at that time.  They even had a café called “Everybody’s Café,” where it 
was a completely biracial café, or a multi-racial café, people could come in and eat, very 
progressive. You have the NAACP there, you know, that he was a part of in Morehouse. There’s 
no record of him working with the NAACP in Pennsylvania.  There’s a record of him speaking 
to the NAACP in Delaware.  So, the only other place he preaches at, except for places around 
Crozier, is Camden.  And that was in 1951 and 1952, right? So, where else would he have been, 
is the question, you know, and also not just that. The widow of this soldier than just died, right 
that conversation with Donald Trump, you know where now Trump’s saying what he said, and 
she’s saying, no listen, he said what I said.  Mrs. Hunt has said very clearly that he lived there on 
and off for two years.  Does she know exactly how long he was there, no, but he was there very 
often, in and out of the house. Her sister-in-law said it, so, in a sense, and this is what I said to a 
radio host the other night, one of the conservative radio hosts, I said, “are you calling the widow 
a liar, or are you calling Mrs. Hunt a liar? Because that’s the only way to say it other than saying, 
you know, that she doesn’t count.  I mean, you know, she has to count.  She owns the actual 
home that’s on the police complaint that her father-in-law gifted to her, and she was alive during 
that period of time.  So, if it wasn’t for her, I would have done nothing with this, you know.  
Without a living witness, I mean, what do you really have?  You have a piece of paper.  But you 

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have a piece of paper and an 80-something year old woman.  Well, how long did he live there?  
On and off about two years.  What did it say in the ’80, ’81 article, on and off about two years.  
Thelma, by the way, says he stayed there on and off for a period of time, and then a full semester 
at the end of his thing, like he was there more during the last semester.  And you know why, and 
this is the theory that I have, Betty Motes. Once he stopped dating Betty Motes, she worked on 
campus, and his father wanted him as far away from her, and all of his friends as far away from 
her as possible.  And if you were him, think about that.  The girl you love, you want to marry, is 
working in the cafeteria, and you gotta go to school, you know.  So, Thelma says that he stayed 
at the home that period of time basically that whole time, which was the last semester of 1951. 
O’HARA: Where did she say that? 
DUFF: Interview I had with her, when I spoke with her on the phone.  
O’HARA: But you don’t have that recorded or anything, no? 
DUFF: No, but I asked her to speak with a reporter, and I asked her to speak with you guys, and 
she said “Honey, I don’t want to be involved, I don’t want my name out there.” And I said “well, 
you don’t have to be out there.” So I’m going to explain to her that something this will be 
concise and it’s not, there’s no…nobody’s looking to sell any columns here.  You know, but if 
you’re asking me if he stayed over in Crozier.  Sure, he stayed in Crozier, that’s obvious.  Did he 
stay at the Barbour’s house some time?  Sure, absolutely, he stayed there. 
MCDONALD: I guess what I’m suggesting is, part of what we’ve been tasked with, if we could 
find concrete evidence of one scenario that’s great.  If we can’t, barring that, can we eliminate 
other possibilities; if we can’t eliminate all other possibilities, it becomes harder to then say that 
this is was must have happened.  We can talk about what might have happened, or what is likely 
to have happened, but we cannot definitely say… 
DUFF: I don’t think anyone can say “must have” but I don’t think that you can do that with any 
incidents of anybody’s life. 
MCDONALD: But for historical registry purposes, you do need to be fairly confidence. 
DUFF: Well, you have a living witness, you have a primary source document listing that address, 
you have a dead witness that that primary source was not available before his testimony.  I mean 
if we’re in a court of law, I could slam dunk this with a court, I mean, just think about that.  
Right now it’s circumstantial evidence, but you can convict somebody on a mass amount of 
circumstantial evidence as long as they all add up.  
And that was what the DEP atfirst, when I found the ’81 article, that was their question, “well, 
did he know about the police report?” Okay, that’s a good question, alright, so know I found 
chain of command on the police report; the only one that had it was McGann, so we can’t talk to 
him now, found out if he gave a police report to Mr. Hunt, but that seems highly unlikely. Why 
would Mr. Hunt have a police report of something they wouldn’t even tell him about for a couple 
of years?  You know, they kept it secret from him, and then told him they were out with a group 
of boys.  You know, so, it’s definitely a lot of circumstantial evidence, except for the police 

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report.  And the second page of the police report, and the fact that, you don’t have Crozier open 
at that point.  So I mean there’s a lot of circumstantial evidence but primary source evidence is 
those police reports.   
And that’s the frustrating part, is that that’s when I knew something was holding back the 
information.  That’s why I searched into finding why would this be a secret.  Because it’s a 
secret, man.  The King Center, when they don’t have it on their archives at all, that’s lying by 
omission, that’s what I would call it.  I mean, you’re not putting it on there for a purpose.  The 
Stanford Archives has it very clearly, but the King Archives don’t.  The Stanford Archives are 
funded by Ronnie Lott, you know.  I don’t know if you know who that it, old football player, he 
funded all the Stanford Archives for King, he’s put millions of dollars into it.  So they actually 
have more money than the King Center; the King Center is going broke.  I don’t think they’re 
open any more right now.  The actual tourist destination, I think, is closed.  The home of King 
for renovations, and they don’t know when it’s going to reopen.  So, I mean, you know what, it’s 
funny cause Clayborne Carson said to me he went down to and he traveled through the south and 
he saw all these monuments and he thought “man, I can’t believe this is not preserved, I cannot 
be believe this is not preserved.”  So yeah, there’s questions about what you preserve, why you 
preserve it, you know, just think about it. There’s no other connection to the Maple Shade 
incident except for that home.  That’s it. That home goes, it’s gone, you have no other 
connection to it.  Let’s say five years down the road, six years down the road, all of a sudden 
something comes up, there’s a tape that comes up, and its King talking about this.   
There’s more out there, the census records will come out in 2022.  What happens in 2022, the 
census records come out and he’s listed as an inhabitant, that location, and we’re like “I didn’t 
know King lived in Camden.” And all of a sudden they go back in history and some guy found it, 
but everyone looked away from it.  Said the hell with it.  Well, that’s a different criteria, by the 
way.  So you have the criteria of the historical significant character lived there, an event 
happened, and that there’s a future evidence that may come in the future that could substantiate 
or build a new narrative.  That’s three different criteria that that house touches. Some places 
touch one very lightly; that house that just was knocked down on, in Bellmawr, did you hear 
about that.  Historical home called the Hugg-Harrison house.  Overnight, the New Jersey 
Department of Transportation knocked it down without any permission.  The next day there was 
an injunction in court tot= save the house.  Well the DOT said “we’re not going to wait for the 
injunction,” they just destroyed the house, they just creamed the house, they just crushed it.  It 
was built in 1770, had a big thing on the side of it, beautiful.  They crushed it, like a bug, right, 
so it’s gone. Now that house somehow received preliminary status through the DEP in months.  
This is not an application to the national registry; this is not even an application to the state.  This 
is a preliminary application to see if the house even qualifies at all.  Now how did that one go so 
quickly? And then they tear the house down. I mean, think about that, that’s a crime…that’s a 
crime.  
But nobody’s going to go to jail for it because it’s an organization and, you know, nobody 
really….so I don’t, I think the same thing is going to happen to that house, to be honest with you.  
I think it’s going to get ripped down, that quarter million dollars is going to get siphoned into 
something else.  And that’s why we were never told about it.  That’s why they’re not calling me 
back or sending emails back.  Why wouldn’t you pick up the phone; Vince Besara, the mayor’s 
guy, “I just read that article, I’m sorry man.” Something, os that’s just…do I want to save the 

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home, yes.  Do I think it’s historically significant, absolutely.  I think that everybody, if they 
looked at the culmination of the facts is when you see the significance.  That’s where he was 
during that incident.  Sure, Crozier is significant, but how are you going to save that building?  
It’s owned now by a private hospital, they don’t even want to think about doing it.  I’ve talked to 
them. Listen, I’ve gone to all these places and I’ve talked to administrators, talked to all the 
politicians.  I’ve been offered so much help and been given none.  That’s why I’m so glad you 
guys are doing what you’re doing.  It’s great. You know, it’s funny because the one newspaper 
said I’m insulted.  I’m not insulted by you guys doing it, I’m insulted that the process was 
changed for me.  It was changed for me. 
MCDONALD: How do you mean? 
DUFF: When I called them originally, they said it was a three-month process for the preliminary 
application, you give us the information you have, we’ll make a decision, it’s done.  Well, in 
three months I asked “hey, what’s the decision?” “Oh, well, we don’t really know yet.” For 
months, I said “well, tell me what you’re basing a decision on?” “Well, we’re basing it on X, Y, 
and Z.” Okay, I can find more. So every time they tell me no, for months in a row, and they 
wouldn’t say no, they would say there’s not enough yet, I would find more, I would fine more, 
and more, and bringing them more.  Here I found an article with him talking about him, this is 
two years after the fact, right? But everything I brought them still wasn’t enough, you know.  
And then, just so you know, looked at the preliminary applications for many other places, and 
they’re not even close to what I brought them.  They don’t substantiate it nearly.  They’re not 
nearly as significant as a person, surely, not nearly as significant an event, surely. But the train 
station, let’s say, or the train house got historic status because it’s on what, it’s on a railroad 
track?  This house is where Dr. King lived.  There’s only one other holiday for one person. 
MCDONALD: This house is where Dr. King may have stayed. 
DUFF: No, I hate to tell you, he lived there. 
MCDONALD: But Patrick, we don’t have the evidence for that, do we? 
DUFF: Let’s go meet her.   
MCDONALD: Okay, alright. 
DUFF: You tell me if she’s credible or not.  She’s paid the taxes on the property, by the way, and 
nobody pays the taxes on the property on that street. Her neighbors are a good example. I’m just 
being honest. So every dollar she pays. She buys the properties around her that are blighted to 
un-blight them.  Cuts the lots around the corner because it looks like crap.  Her husband, when 
they cut all the rec sports programs for the kids, he financed them.  He’s got a street named after 
him. They live on Jethro Hunt Street.  So this is a family that is the son’s a Willingboro 
detective, all the daughters are teachers.  I mean, she was the president of the PTA for Camden 
for many years, you know.  This is not a person that is to be, you know, questioned in the sense 
of what she thinks and remembers.  When I first came to her she was matter of fact.  I said, 
“Maam, I have a very silly question.” And she said, “what’s that?” I said did you know Martin 
Mother King, And she said, “well he used to live in my house.”  And I was like, okay, is this 

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something you’ve been keeping secret here? “No, my daddy told the newspapers.”  When?  She 
brings down this crumpled piece of paper and it’s from 1981, and I’m like “okay.” Has he told 
them lately?  Because he’s got to.  So, let’s go meet her. 
O’HARA:  Okay. Let me end the recording here. 
MCDONALD: Save it. 

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INTERVIEW WITH JEANETTE LILY HUNT AT HER HOME, JANUARY 19, 2015. 
[Transcribed by John O’Hara from audio .mp4 file provided by Patrick Duff.  Includes voices of 
Jeanette Lily Hunt; Patrick Duff; Colandus Francis, former Camden NAACP leader; and Ed 
Colimore, reporter, Philadelphia Inquirer.] 
RECORDING STARTS: 
[Indecipherable] 
Hunt: . . . big house . . . [indecipherable] . . .  it’s a little bigger than this one . . . in here, because 
this is the front room/dining room, and the front room there [753 Walnut] is almost the size of 
this and then the dining room. 
Duff:  Did, did, uh, your husband Jethroe, were they friends with him, or . . . 
Hunt: Oh, they were close . . .  
Duff: Oh, yeah? 
Hunt: They were close. 
Duff: . . . because Jethroe was very religious, too, right? 
Hunt:  Yes, he’s the foreman [?]. 
CF: Yeah, the apartment’s right across the street. 
Hunt:  Over there. 
Duff: And then what about when he lived there at that house, do you remember when that 
happened in Maple Shade, when he got . . . ? 
Hunt:  I wasn’t there.  From my understanding, my cousin called my father in law to come to 
Maple Shade because they were locked up, and he got them out. 
Duff: So they got locked up? 
Hunt:  I think they were locked up.  I think that’s the way the story went.  Because he went down 
to get them out. Now that’s the best, that’s all I know. 
CF:  They probably at the police station filed a complaint. 
Duff: That’s what they were . . . They were filing a complaint because they charged him . . . and 
the police actually arrested the bartender . . .  
Hunt: I never really looked really into it, to know all the who what when and wheres . . .  
CF:  But that complaint there is against the owner of the bar, the bar owner – that complaint is 
against the bar owner. 
EC: There was no complaint against Martin Luther King, right? 
CF:  Well, we haven’t seen . . . we haven’t seen anything . . . I don’t know if it exists . . . 

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Hunt: I really don’t . . . . Don’t document anything I’m not sure of . . . 
CF:  But that complaint is against the bar owner. [hands her paper] 
Hunt: Wait a minute, I just glanced at this, I really didn’t read it.  
CF:  Yeah. No, no, that’s not against Dr. King and McCall, that’s against the bar owner. 
Duff: But I can tell you guys, I know from my own experience in police, that there’s two people 
and one person saying this guy did that, this guy did that . . . Let’s say he said “I thought these 
guys were going to rob me,” you never know . . .  
Hunt:  But this is true, I heard them say they didn’t want to serve them, that’s what 
[indecipherable] about the disturbance . . .  
CF: Yeah, absolutely, and [inidecipherable] 
Duff:  Do you remember, were they mad about it, upset . . . do you remember anything about that 

Hunt: They didn’t have that kind of [indecipherable].  No, their personality wasn’t like that.  I 
never heard any negative comments or anything from them or my father in law.  It was just a . . . 
it happened, you know and they did what they had to do. . . 
CF: But you got to understand Dr. King had been exposed to that all his life in the south, in 
Georgia, so it was nothing new to him to be discriminated against . . .  
Duff: What’s going on with house now, 753 Walnut? 
Hunt:  It’s just there.  I didn’t have it demolished . . .  
Duff: Well, good. 
Hunt: I didn’t have it demolished.  I had called—what’s that guy that does all the demolishing 
here? 
Duff: Hargrove. 
[overlapping] 
Hunt:  Yeah, Hargrove, but he wanted 35,000.  That was a few years ago.  But the drug addicts 
keep breaking in, and . . . it’s still a problem.  I put out so much money trying to keep it, until I 
said, uh, I am tired of paying taxes on it. 
Duff: Well, I think with your statement, and with the information we have, that’s going to be 
enough to make that a historical site. 
Hunt:  I would love that! 
CF:  I’ll tell you . . .  I know she would be . . .  
Hunt: I would love that because I had a man come and close up the back because they went in 
and stole . . .  

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Duff: Well, they opened it up again . . .  
Hunt:  It’s open now? 
CF:  One of the windows . . .  
[overlapping assent] 
Hunt:  [indecipherable] paying to have it boarded up . . . They went in, they took all the pipes 
out.  That house, when my father in law passed, that house was really nice . . . they took all the . . 
. he put the bathroom in downstairs, they just took everything . . . Remember Bernadette 
Johnson, her mother was sick?  
[conversation continues about Bernadette Johnson, how she had rented to Johnson, how her 
husband or boyfriend had “torn the place up,” the eviction process.  Then, discussion of how 
“druggies” moved in, etc., and how it cost her: “I have been putting out money, money, money, 
money.”] 
[conversation then turns to the property on Newton Street said to have been occupied by King, 
which Ms. Hunt claims was not true.] 
Hunt:  That was not true. He lived at 753 Walnut Street. 
Duff:  Why have you just kept this [history of 753] to yourself? 
Hunt:  The Courier Post did a write up. 
Duff:  When? 
Hunt:  I have it here somewhere, where the Courier Post did a write up, my father in law was 
standing in front of the house. 
CF: Oh, when he was alive, when your father in law was alive. 
Hunt:  When my father in law was alive. 
Duff: How long ago was that? 
Hunt: Oh, gosh. When they took that? I was teaching at another school . . . I can probably see if 
one of my daughters . . . because I made copies and gave them to all my children . . .   
Duff: Was it in the seventies, the eighties? 
Hunt:  It must have been . . . it was in . . . it had to be the eight—it wasn’t the seventies.  It might 
have been the nineties.  Maybe you can get a microfilm from Courier Post.  It was about that big, 
Daddy standing outside of the house . . .  
CF:  When . . . when did you father pass? 
Hunt:  He’s been dead about ten years . . . 

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Duff:  Yeah, but it was just him saying it at that point . . . it was just your, him, he was just 
saying it . . . there was no documentation to put him there.  Now, that, that right there, that’s the 
glue.  
CF: That’s proof. 
Hunt:  Courier Post came and interviewed Daddy.  You’re a researcher, right? 
EC: I’m a reporter with The Philadelphia Inquirer.  He’s doing some research. 
Hunt:  Oh, you’re doing research.  I don’t know where that paper is.  I thought about that paper 
once before.  I asked my children, and I’ll ask them again tonight since you’re here . . . uh, 
maybe . . . let me have your name and phone number . . .  
[assent, various exchanges of paper] 
Hunt:  Yeah, that’s a fact, that’s where he lived at . . . 
CF:  Yeah, this is the first time I ever seen . . . that I ever heard about 753.  I knew the rumors 
about 940 Newton, but I never believed that.  
Hunt:  No, that’s not true.  I don’t know where that guy got that information.  In fact, I think my 
daughters tried to reach him to tell him that, no, you’re not telling the truth. 
Duff:  Well, the interesting thing is, I have reached out to him and I called him, and I said I found 
this information that shows an address, and he wasn’t very happy about it, actually.  And I said 
to him, listen, my job, what I do, is I am a social activist, a civil rights activist, and it’s not to 
worry about the temperament of somebody else, or if somebody’s going to be upset, it’s to find 
the truth, and then expose the truth.  And, uh, like in Maple Shade—in Maple Shade, the incident 
that happened to him is told like it was folklore, like it never really happened.  
Hunt: Yes, it did happen, because my father in law . . . I remember my father in law went up 
there to get them out, whatever trouble they were in, so that they could come back.  When they 
came back that night, they slept at 753 Walnut Street. 
CF:  Yeah, that’s the complaint they signed, their signatures right at the bottom. 
[address exchanges continue] 
Hunt:  I often think about how close I was to him, but didn’t realize that he would . . . 
EC: . . . be, yeah, because at that point he was a student, and he wasn’t known nationally or 
anything . . . How long was he in that house, at 753 . . . ? 
Hunt:  I guess until he graduated. 
EC:  Was that two years, or . . . ? 
Hunt:  If you could get a hold of the yearbook from Crozer, from the Seminary . . . 
EC:  Did he stay there from the time he went to Crozer, so from 48-51? 

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Hunt:  I’m not sure, all I know is they say the time he went to the Seminary, that’s where he 
graduated from, he stayed at 753, he never stayed no place else in Camden. 
EC:  Ok, so he probably was 48-51, you think, huh? 
Hunt: Yeah, but the whole time he was at Crozer, that’s when he was at 753 Walnut. 
Duff: I got goosebumps everywhere. 
Hunt:  And I can almost visualize seeing him, even when we’d be outside on the sidewalk, him 
leaning up on the car, you know  . . . but that’s one of the reasons why I can’t . . . I knew he 
stayed in that back room, and I didn’t want to get rid of the house.  Camden was killing me with 
the taxes, and nobody in it. 
Duff: Well, you know the house next to it, they are $47,000 in back taxes and $95,000 in interest 
and penalties, that’s what they owe on it. 
Hunt: The house next door. 
CF: 755. 
Duff: The house next door, 755, so . . .  That might be something I can help them out with too, 
because . . . . Didn’t you guys own both houses, 755 and 753? 
Hunt: That house was my father in law’s house. 
Duff: . . . ok, because I saw that in the records. 
Hunt: But presently his daughter’s son . . . something, I don’t go over there. 
Duff: Jeanette, right? 
Hunt:  I’m Jeanette. 
Duff: Ok, you’re Jeanette.  Who’s Lily? 
Hunt: Me! 
Duff: Ok, so Jeanette Lily is the same person. 
[they discuss her name, origin, spelling, kidding around, phone rings, call taken by Ms. Hunt] 
Duff: [while Hunt talks on phone] I told you I was right.  I knew it, I had a feeling. 

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Oral History Interview: 
Jeanette Lilly M. Hunt 
340 Pine Street, Camden, New Jersey 
Thursday, October 26, 2017, 3:15pm 
Conducted by:  
John O’Hara, Associate Professor of Critical Thinking, Stockton University 
Michelle Craig McDonald, Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs, Stockton University 
Also present: 
Patrick Duff, Local Activist 
MCDONALD:  Do you mind if we record you? 
HUNT: No, I’m going to tell the truth. 
MCDONALD: No, no, I just meant rather than my frantically trying to take notes. 
HUNT: It don’t make a difference.  Whatever is convenient for you. 
MCDONALD:  Excellent, excellent.  So the way we’ve divided the questions, the first are just to 
give us a little bit of background about you and your family, and then the next set of questions 
will be specifically about 753, and then we’ll go on from there—753 Walnut.  So [to O’Hara] are 
you ready? 
O’HARA:  I am.  We’re actually recording already. 
MCDONALD: Alright.  Simple question to start with—could you state your name for us? 
HUNT:  I like to be called Jeannette Lily M. Hunt. 
MCDONALD:  Okay.  We’re happy to call you what you’d like to be called. 
HUNT:  Mrs. Hunt. 
 here 
MCDONALD: That’s great.  And can you tell me, are you from Camden? 
HUNT:  Yes, yes. 
MCDONALD: Born and raised here your whole life? 
HUNT: Yes. 
MCDONALD:  And when were you born? 

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HUNT: May 14, 1931 (phone rings; McDonald interjects “You can get that if you like.”  Hunt 
replies, “It’s my son,” and takes the call).  Do we need to start over? 
 
MCDONALD:  No, we can keep going from here.  Tell me a little bit about your parents and 
your family background here in Camden. 
 
HUNT: I was born in Camden, not too far from where I’m living now, where I’m living right 
now.  I attended the public school system here in Camden.  I had one sister, and one brother. 
 
MCDONALD:  And what were their names? 
 
HUNT:  Mildred and Obie.  He was an elder in our church.  My mother died young too, my 
mother died when she was 45.  So that just left us. But I married young.  I remember when my 
husband asked my mother, she said, “If I marry her, I’ll take care of her.” So my mother said, 
“Alright.”  So I married right out of high school.  Right out of high school.  But I had a good 
husband.  We were married for 65 years. 
 
MCDONALD: Congratulations. 
 
HUNT: And he worked for…the fire department used to be located over on…little past 4th street.  
That’s where the firehouse was, so when we bought our home when we first married we stayed 
with his parents.  But we only stayed there ‘bout two or three months, because he got a place for 
us to stay.  And then we moved here.  And I’ve been here about 65 years, in this house.  And he 
would just leave from here and go to work.  And he worked for the city of Camden ‘bout 35 
years, for the fire department. 
 
MCDONALD:  So you were living here in 1948, then? 
 
HUNT:  Oh yes.  Yes. Oh , wait a minute…1948. No, I wasn’t here in ’48.  In ’48, we had just 
gotten married. 
 
MCDONLAD: Okay, so you were still living with your husband’s family. 
 
HUNT: Yes.  But we only stayed there two or three months.  And then we moved into our own 
home. 
 
DUFF:  What month did you get married? 
 
HUNT: October.  Halloween. 
 
MCDONALD:  Oh!  Me too, we got married on October 30. 
 
HUNT:  I did too!  That’s mischief night! 
 
MCDONALD:  It is.  That’s why I chose it. 
 

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HUNT:  I was so anxious to get married, I’m not even thinking about Halloween….that he was 
going to marry me, and I was going to marry him. 
 
MCDONALD:  Well, I chose it deliberately because it was mischief night. 
 
HUNT:  Oh really? I didn’t even think about it.  But we had a good home.  We had a good 
family.  Four children—Jethro, Jeanette, Darlene, and Shirley.  And all of them are doing well.  
Thank God. You know that they able to take care of themselves.  I thanks the Lord for that.  And 
they helps me out, if I need anything.  I don’t get out like I used to.  But if I give them a phone 
call, they tell me to make a list.  Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t.  
 
MCDONALD:  What year were you married? I meant to ask. So it was October 30…. 
 
HUNT: I think it was 1948. 
 
MCDONALD:  Okay.  
 
HUNT: ’47 or ’48. 
 
MCDONALD:  And what was your relationship to Benjamin Hunt? 
 
HUNT:  My father-in-law.  Good daddy.  Good father in law. 
 
MCDONALD:  And he was living at 753 Walnut when you got married? 
 
HUNT: Yes. 
 
MCDONALD: How long had he been living there, do you know? 
 
HUNT: Living where? 
 
MCDONALD: At 753. 
 
HUNT: Oh, I have that information.  A long time.  He was living there before I got married.  
That tells you something, because I was married 65 years. 
 
O’HARA:  Did your husband grow up there? 
 
HUNT:  Yes, he wasn’t born there, but he grew up there. 
 
MCDONALD:  And that’s the house you lived in just after your marriage? 
 
HUNT:  Yes, yes… 
 
MCDONALD:  For a couple of months. What can you tell me about the house? In terms of… 
 
HUNT: Which house? 

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MCDONALD: 753, I’m sorry. 
HUNT: Well, 753 is a big house.  Warm home, large rooms.  And it was a Christian home, 
because my mother and father-in-law were very strict.  No smoking in the house.  No nothing in 
there, but, you know, just family gathering, family talk and that kind of thing.  But it had a 
large…now the living room was almost this size.  And then it was a dining room.  And then the 
kitchen.  And it had 1, 2, 3, 4 bedrooms, bath upstairs and a bath downstairs.  Large yard you 
could drive in.  The driveway is adjacent to the house. 
O’HARA:  We just drove by it, and stopped for a few moments.  Now, did Benjamin…what 
immediate family were still living with him at the time you got married and moved out?  So it 
would have been Benjamin—was he married? So your mother-in-law was there? 
HUNT:  My husband’s brother, they weren’t living there.  The only one that was there was my, I 
think she’s the middle girl—Sarah Hunt. 
MCDONALD:  So then it was Benjamin, his daughter, and his wife?  Was she there as well? 
HUNT:  My father-in-law’s wife?  Yeah, it was…they were staying, like I said, you’re going a 
ways back.  They lived there, in the house, and I remember Sarah, she’s staying in the house.  
My sister-in-law, they had another daughter, Mary, she got married, she moved away, but she 
was staying there a long time. But then she got married when she was up in age.  And my sister-
in-law, Thelma, she got married young, and she moved out.  So it was a family home.  It was 
really a family house.  I don’t like to say house.  It was a family home.  There’s a difference 
between a house and a home. 
O’HARA:  Benjamin Hunt, in an interview back in 1981, he said something about the house 
having a swinging door policy where people would be coming and going a lot, and staying there.  
And he called it a swinging door. 
HUNT:  If it was a swinging door, it was only for church people.  You know sometimes they 
would have conventions, and back in that time it was hard to get a room at a hotel, and daddy 
would let them stay there.  But that, that’s the only swinging door that would be.  Unless it was 
one of the family; wasn’t nobody else swinging in there. 
O’HARA:  So he didn’t rent any rooms out? 
HUNT:  Oh no. The only people that stayed there was Dr. King.  Now Dr. King did stay there, 
and Walter did come there.  But Walter was his nephew, so naturally, you know, they were the 
only ones--nobody else stayed there. 
MCDONALD:  This is a question we’ve had a hard time trying to pin down—what is the 
relationship between Walter McCall and Benjamin Hunt.  So you say it was his nephew.  His 
nephew on what side of the family? Do you know? 

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HUNT:  I think it was on, I think it was on the father’s side.  Blood relation, it was on the 
father’s side. Because I remember going to Atlanta one time.  In fact, I went to Walter’s home, 
he had a home in Atlanta, and, yeah, that was on daddy’s side. 
MCDONALD:  And how, when you say that Walter stayed there, and Dr. King stayed there, 
how would you characterize how they used the property? 
HUNT:  It was just like any other college student.  Most of the time you’re at the college, you 
know, just come there to stay at night.  That was their residence, rather than being on campus. 
MCDONALD:  So how often do you think they would stay over in Camden? If you had to 
guess? 
HUNT: I don’t know, I had my own house. 
MCDONALD:  Okay, good point by you. 
HUNT:  Just one time, when I was…it’s kind of hard, but I do remember passing him, and 
talking just leisurely, you know, when I would see them.  That was it; you know I thought 
nothing of it.  Hey, if I thought he would become Dr. King, it might have been a different story.  
But he was just there, they were just there, just like, you know, you’d go to your mother’s house, 
and you’d see somebody, you’d speak to them, and maybe you’d exchange a few words, and 
then you go on to do what you have to do. 
O’HARA:  You knew Walter somewhat better? 
HUNT:  I knew Walter.  I knew him because he was a family member.  Like I said, I did go to 
his home. But the time I went to his home was during the time he died.  I remember going to his 
home when he died, because daddy wanted all of us to go down there.  Someone had sabotaged 
his sausage plant.  He was getting ready to open up a business, with selling sausage.  And that 
Sunday morning, someone had…he went there, he was on his way to church, and he noticed his 
place was sabotaged.  They say he had a heart attack from that and he died.  Because he had put 
a lot of money in there. 
O’HARA:  What year would that have been? 
DUFF: 1976 he died. 
O’HARA: ’76. 
HUNT: This young man over here (indicating Duff) he has a great memory. 
MCDONALD:  He has a great memory. 
O’HARA: We were just saying he has a great memory, saying that on the way here. 
HUNT:  He has a photographic mind. 

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MCDONALD:  Did you know any other members of Walter’s family? 
 
HUNT:  I met his wife, but I never really had no communications with her, but I did meet her, 
and he had a couple of boys.  I was so involved with family until I was, I wasn’t, you know, I 
never was a person to do a lot of visiting.  I had to keep my home together.  Any other questions? 
 
MCDONALD:  Yes, I’ve got a few more….I’ve got a few more. So, you’ve actually, you’ve 
described the house, could you describe the neighborhood?  What was it like? 
 
HUNT:  It was very friendly, it was very open.  You didn’t have to lock your doors like you do 
now.  I could put the baby in the baby carriage, go to the store; I didn’t worry about locking no 
doors.  And everybody knew everybody.  And it was quiet.  It was like a family, it was just nice. 
 
DUFF:  And Mrs. Hunt, Bergen Square was where most of the African American people lived at 
the time, right? 
 
HUNT:  At that time, all the way down here, down to 2nd Street, which nobody is down in now—
they’re in the high rise, those that are living. But this area here where I’m in now was an Italian-
based neighborhood. Down below Locust, below 3rd, this is 4th, that’s 3rd, was the black 
neighborhood. Lot of blacks And then in Centerville, I remember that, lot of blacks out in 
Centerville, and Shelton Terrace, those areas, out there. 
  
But basically down from Kane Avenue, well, I would say Atlantic, all the way back out to 
Margate.  Blacks was all in there.  And down to 2nd Street.  See, on 2nd Street, they’ve torn all the 
houses down, it’s just a highway.  I mean 2nd Street is just trucks, you know, industries.  But 
people all lived down there, and even in here and around 4th Street, here and up to Broadway, 
were Italians.  Over on 3rd Street over there, there was some blacks over there, but like years ago; 
I remember when they made them move because they were going to bring a highway through.  
Never did.  Never did.  The houses still there, but those people owned their homes, but they 
made them move. 
 
So it was quiet.  You didn’t have to worry about walking, you could go out at night. Like now, I 
wouldn’t go out at night, not unless somebody is with me.  
 
DUFF:  You turn your camera on there, you see her camera? 
 
MCDONALD: Oh, right. No, I hadn’t seen it. 
 
HUNT: Oh yeah, and at night I take my iPad upstairs at night because I have it on my iPad, so if 
anyone is out the front I can see who’s out there. But I don’t go to the door at night.  One night 
the police was knocking on the door, I didn’t let them in.  I called the police on them. 
 
Group laughs. 
 
HUNT (cont.): I told them, “Someone’s knocking on my door.” Then I found out it was the 
police. Not too long ago. 

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DUFF:  I remember you told me that. Someone got shot down the street, and they wanted to get 
her video from her thing.  And she said “I’m not getting my video, someone could be watching 
me.  Have a good day. 
 
MCDONALD:  So if I can tax your memory, and I realize this is really asking you to really think 
back, you said that you met Dr. King once or twice when you were in the house.  Is there 
anything about that event that you can remember? 
 
HUNT:  They were just nice gentlemen, that’s all I can say, they weren’t loud, you know when 
they talked.  They were just nice.  My father thought a lot of both of them.  He really did. 
 
MCDONALD:  Do you know why they would come to visit Camden?  Was it just, were there 
other people that they knew? 
 
HUNT:  Well, the thing about it is, the reason were there was because my father-in-law was, 
well, they were cousins, whatever, a cousin.  Walter was his nephew. So that’s how Walter got 
there, so that’s how Dr. King got there, because of Walter. 
 
O’HARA:  How long was Walter there? Like, before 1948? 
 
HUNT:  Just the time he was at seminary.  Seminary is the reason why he came north.  And 
that’s the reason why he wound up at daddy’s house.  Rather than staying on campus, they 
stayed at daddy’s.  Or, you know, some time they may have had…did you [speaking to Duff] 
search that they did have also have a room on campus? 
 
DUFF:  Oh, they had a room on campus. 
 
HUNT:  Yeah, most students do that, you know. My granddaughter, she graduated now, she had 
a room on campus, but was home every week. 
 
DUFF:  Did you know, because when I talked to Thelma, she said that Walter worked as a 
substitute teacher in Camden. 
 
HUNT: I don’t hear nothing about that. 
 
DUFF:  Walter said the same thing. 
 
HUNT: Well, I don’t know nothing about that. 
 
MCDONALD:  Do you know, I know you’ve spoken about this in an earlier interview, but just 
for the purposes of our recording, so one of the events in which King is associated in New 
Jersey, is what happened in Maple Shade, New Jersey. 
 
HUNT:  I remember that, I wasn’t living there but my father-in-law told me, when they were, 
when the police had them in Maple Shade, they called daddy because they wanted daddy to 

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come get them out.  Well, Daddy called Dr. Wiggins. And they’re the ones…but that night they 
stayed at 753 Walnut Street. 
 
MCDONALD:  After Dr. Wiggins got them out of the police station? 
 
HUNT:  Yeah, after they left there, they came back to 753 Walnut Street. 
 
MCDONALD:  Had they been staying there before that night, do you know? 
 
HUNT: Yea, they had to be, they had to be staying there.  But like I said, when you’re in college 
you’re back and forth.  And it just so happened that night in Maple Shade they were out, and 
they got into trouble. 
 
MCDONALD: Do you remember what the trouble was about? 
 
HUNT:  No more than what I read in the newspaper.  You read that article too. 
 
MCDONALD: Yes, I didn’t know if there was anything else, other than what the newspaper had. 
 
HUNT:  No, no, cause my father-in-law told me they got into trouble and they called me to get 
‘em out.  And Dr. Wiggins at that time was head of NAACP. I remember him very distinctly. 
 
MCDONALD:  What do you remember about him? 
 
HUNT:  He was a nice doctor, you know, visiting the homes, and…he was just down to earth, 
Dr. Wiggins was.  He was a neighborhood doctor.  Everyone who knew him liked him.  I liked 
him. 
 
MCDONALD: I’m assuming that, but I should never assume, but I was asked to ask, that in 
addition to your memories…do you have any….there’s a 1981 newspaper clipping that you’ve 
provided to Patrick, but are there any other letters or photographs or anything from the time 
period that you have? No? 
 
HUNT:  Just busy, busy, busy. We’ve always been a busy family.  I’m busy now, although I 
don’t get out as much, I’m still overly busy. 
 
MCDONALD: I keep hoping it’s going to slow down at some point.  It doesn’t? 
 
HUNT:  Every day I’m busy, doing something. I’m very active with my church. 
 
MCDONALD:  Is there anything else about 753 that you’d like to tell us, that we haven’t asked 
you already? 
 
HUNT:  No, no…I think all the neighbors up there loved daddy, and at one time daddy used to 
provide a vegetable garden up there, you know, for about 3 or 4 lots.  And he’d plant collard 
greens, tomatoes, all those kind of vegetables like that.  It was real pretty too.  He kept it so well, 
and all the neighbors liked that because he let them have the vegetables.  They liked that. 

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DUFF: Do you Benjamin Hunt, any of his brothers’ names? 
HUNT: Uh-uh. I really don’t. 
DUFF:  And Benjamin was born, do you remember where? 
HUNT: That was before my time. 
MCDONALD: Do you remember how long he lived in the house? 
HUNT:  Like I said, he had to have been living there for over 65 years. I think when they bought 
the house, if I can think, it was back in the ‘80s.  I’m not sure.  But I think was about it in the 
‘80s when he purchased 753. 
DUFF:  Well, the property records show that he bought it in 1945. 
MCDONALD: Okay. 
HUNT: That’s when he bought it? 
DUFF: That’s what it says.  But remember he owned 753 also. 
HUNT:  But I have a deed, I do have a deed, I saw it for when they purchased that property.  
Because before they moved to Walnut Street, they lived on 8th Street. And they moved from 8th 
Street, I think I’m right now, to Walnut Street.  Like I said, you need time to sit down, when you 
doing history now you need to sit down and get them facts together. I just did a history thing. 
Remember I was telling you about (to Duff). 
O’HARA: One question I have is, that trip to Atlanta to visit Walter McCall’s family when he 
died, which would have been 1976.  So you…What year were you born again? 
HUNT:  I was born in 1931. 
O’HARA:  So 1931.  So that would have made you? 
HUNT: About 19. 
DUFF: No. 
O’HARA: When you went to visit Walter McCall’s family when he died? 
HUNT: I’m not sure. I know I went there, when he died.  I can’t recall what year Walter died. 
O’HARA: You must have been closer with Walter than… 

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HUNT: Oh, I liked him, we…we talked now, like I said, we talked. But I can’t think of nothing 
negative about him. 
 
O’HARA: And he was there during the seminary years, when he was at Crozier primarily… 
 
HUNT: Yes, when he was at 753 Walnut. Now the year he died… 
 
O’HARA: But you got to know him pretty well during those couple of years? 
 
HUNT: Well, yeah, when I would see him, like when I would go to the house.  But daddy talked 
about him all the time, so that brings about a closeness too. 
 
MCDONALD:  Did either Dr. King or McCall stay in touch with Mr. Hunt after they left 
seminary? 
 
HUNT: I believe they did, because Mr. King’s mother and father, they left, they drove all the 
way from Atlanta to meet daddy, but daddy was at a church convention.  They said that they 
wanted to meet the man that housed their son.  Housed their son.  They drove all the way from 
Atlanta to Camden. 
 
MCDONALD:  Do you know when that was?  Was it soon after King graduated or…? 
 
DUFF: When he lived there. 
 
HUNT: Yeah, it had to be during the time he lived.  All I know he was there.  He lived there. 
 
MCDONALD:  Okay. Do you have any other questions, John?   
 
O’HARA:  I don’t.  You were taking the lead on this interview. 
 
MCDONALD: I was. 
 
HUNT:  And another thing about my family, all of our children finished college, everyone one of 
‘em.  Me too. 
 
MCDONALD: What did you study? 
 
HUNT: I majored in elementary education, and secondary, and also was a guidance counselor. 
And certified in all three areas: elementary, secondary, teacher of the handicapped, and guidance 
counselor. 
 
O’HARA:  Did you work here in Camden? 
 
HUNT:  I worked for while in Pleasantville as a guidance counselor.  And then I came back to 
Camden. 
 
DUFF: Weren’t you also president of the PTA? 

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HUNT: I was president of the PTA before I went to college.  I loved it too.  We were so close 
with the community that the board of Education set up the basement.  They fixed it all up just 
like a kitchen.  Put stoves in there, we was just go there, you know we volunteered—and fixed 
lunches for the kids, dinners, you know, we did a lot with the PTA. 
DUFF:  Did you know Robert Bert Johnson?  Judge Johnson? 
HUNT: I didn’t know him too well.  His name was familiar.   
DUFF: Because he was the attorney for King and McCall during that incident. 
HUNT:  I didn’t know him that well, but as far as that….the school is still standing, Fetter 
School.  When I was a little girl, I had to walk past that school and go to Bourbon School, that’s 
another school that’s built in a spot right there there at 4th and Mt. Vernon.  When I finished 
Bourbon School I still had to walk, past Fetter school, and when you’re young you don’t pay that 
no mind.  You know, all I just knew I had to go towhere I was supposed to be.  Then I had to go 
to Whittier School till 7th grade, and when I finished Whittier School, I had to walk past and go 
to Hatch, and then I left Hatch and went to Camden High.  And I didn’t go to college until my 
baby, Shirley, went to junior high. 
MCDONALD: That was the youngest of your children? 
HUNT:  Yes, when she went to junior high, I had no one coming home for lunch, so I was free.  
Because back in the time when they was small, they came home for lunch.  So you just about got 
the whole history.  It may be a little scattered, sporadic. 
MCDONALD:  No, no…that’s good you never know how pieces fit together, so it’s always 
good to let you think about how it comes to your mind. 
DUFF:  What year did Jethro die? 
HUNT: My husband?  My husband will be dead 12 years this month.  1960--wait a 
minute….2005. You know, I tell you, I get shaky with the date.  I think he died, my husband 
died in 2005.  October. 
DUFF:  That’s 1950. 
HUNT: No he died, 2005… 
DUFF:  But you were married 65 years, right? Were you married in 1950? you know I can find 
that online. 
HUNT: I have my marriage certificate upstairs. 
DUFF:  Do you? 

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HUNT: Yeah, I’ll just be a little…not… 
 
DUFF:  You may have been married more than 65 years. 
 
HUNT:  Well, I know I’ve been married 65 and I know he died 2005.  So that would make it 
about 12 years he’s been dead already. 
 
DUFF:  Oh, and tell them what your husband did with the kids around here, the sports programs. 
 
HUNT:  Oh, he was in charge of the little league, and we had the south Camden recreation, about 
5 or 6 or 7 busses would leave right from that corner, and the busses would leave here every 
morning taking the kids anywhere, we didn’t care if they was from another neighborhood or not.  
All they had to have was permission, a slip signed by the parent, before they’d let them get on 
the bus.  And we were able to hire teachers from the school system because it was during the 
summer when school was out.  And they when they’d come back, and I’d be with them too, and 
we’d come back into the city around 4 o’clock, and then we’d go out into a neighborhood around 
6 o’clock and stay in that neighborhood until about 10 o’clock.  But then the city took it over, 
they took it over because they could get funds.  See we were funded by the state.  That’s how we 
could pay young people to work, and they all grown now, but they talk about how we hired 
them, you know, to work at the program.  And that’s how we were able to hire teachers, to come 
and work in the program, and it was just a full day, with the kids. 
 
O’HARA:  Fantastic. 
 
MCDONALD: What did your husband do? 
 
O’HARA: Fireman. 
 
HUNT:  My husband? Well, like I said, he was a fireman for 35 years, but he also had his own 
business, home sanitation service. 
 
DUFF:  He was one of the first African American firemen in the city. 
 
MCDONALD:  And he was from Camden as well? 
 
HUNT: My husband?  Like I told you, he grew up in Camden, but he was born in South 
Carolina. 
 
DUFF:  That’s where McCall’s family is from. 
 
HUNT: I think he came, his father brought him here, when he was either 5 or 6 years old.  His 
father brought him here. 
 
MCDONALD:  Great. 
 
O’HARA: Alright. 
 

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HUNT:  Now you’re going to write that up?   
 
MCDONALD: Yes. 
 
HUNT: I’d like to see it, and then I’ll have a copy.  I’d like a history for our church. 
 
MCDONALD:  Be happy to. I’d be happy to. 
 
HUNT: You know, you can’t trust politicians.  And over the years, I’ve heard them say they 
coming into the neighborhood to do this, and to do that, and you go to meetings where they 
supposed to be setting up how you would like for it to be, but it never comes about.  Never takes 
place. 
 
MCDONALD: How many people have you met with about this project? Have you spoken 
directly to different people. 
 
DUFF:  The DEP. And them two reporters. 
 
O’HARA: Your first interview. 
 
HUNT:  You need to contact John Lewis and let him now. 
 
DUFF:  I did. 
 
HUNT: Oh you did?  Oh good. 
 
DUFF:  Oh, I’m not one to walk quietly. 
 
HUNT: Yeah, they brought him here.  I have it on my phone. 
 
O’HARA:  Oh wow.  That’s pretty neat. 
 
DUFF:  You do all that, you do all that, and then you don’t inform us about what is happening.  
And then, by the way, they contacted the Courier Post and told them that they let you know 
what’s happening. 
 
HUNT:  No, they did not.  They didn’t, haven’t, cause most everything is on my phone or my 
iPad.  They haven’t contacted me, not one time. The last time they contacted me… 
 
DUFF:  Remember, the last time they contacted you they tried to go around me, and have her 
sign off on the house, the contract left her on the hook for almost everything.  So I read the 
contract and I said absolutely not, she’s not signing this.  And then they made her right a letter 
saying that I’m her representative for the house.  So then she wrote the letter, and now I was the 
representative, and they completely misrepresented every single thing they told us.  We sat at a 
meeting and said “We’re 100% on board, no problem, we’re going to take it from here as long as 
we get city designation,” and she was right there, and, “Okay, that sounds great.” And I even 

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asked them, you remember, “this doesn’t require state designation for this?”  “No, no, we’re all 
on board.”  And we signed a contract and it didn’t come to closing. 
HUNT:  And I just need to sign so they can put a roof on.  They said we want to put the roof on 
before any damage is done to it.  It seemed like to me that in November. 
DUFF:  That was last year, yeah. 
HUNT: Yeah, last year. 
O’HARA: I still can’t figure out why that grant not would be… 
DUFF:  Well, she just hit it on the head. She’s been in the city for a long time and people say 
they’re going to come in and do this and do that.  Now the grant money might come, but is the 
project happening? So, this is the story of Camden.  This is a microcosm of Camden and you’re 
seeing it right here, with this house.  
HUNT:  They say things, make it real, real, real, most of the time, worse than it is.  Then they get 
the money, the people, the grass roots don’t see nothing happen.  I’ll see them fix up by, like, 
where the business area, I seen them fix up over there.  But down here, nothing, Nothing.  If you 
get anything done, you have pull it out your own pocket.  And then they come tear up your 
pavement, they don’t fix it back, you’ve got to fix it back. 
DUFF: How many properties have you bought here around on Queen? 
HUNT: I bought, we owned this house, the one over on the corner and I own those lots back 
there, trying to keep ‘em clean.  When my husband, when he was with the sanitation business, he 
had trucks back there.  And I’m still paying taxes on that property back there.  And I pay more 
taxes on that than I do in this one.  I ain’t never understood that. 
MCDONALD:  What house, you mean 753? 
HUNT: No, that house next door. This is my property from here to the corner. 
MCDONALD:  And technically you still own 753 Walnut, is that right? 
HUNT: Oh right, I just paid up the taxes for the year.  They didn’t even take over the taxes. 
DUFF:  They promised us they would.   
HUNT: You know, but I kept paying them. So when the tax bill come in, I say just, you know, 
they did lower the taxes on it.  But I said I’d pay it. 
DUFF:  $507 a year. 
HUNT: Yup, that’s all I have to pay now. 

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MCDONALD:  And it’s been sitting vacant now for how long? 
 
HUNT:  Oh, a long time. It’s been vacant a long time. 
 
O’HARA:  20 years, you said? 
 
DUFF: Something like that. 
 
HUNT: I think it’s been at least 20 years, because my husband has been dead about 12 this 
month.  I would say about 20. 
 
MCDONALD: Is there anything else you’d like to share with us? I’ve asked you a lot of 
questions, but is there anything else? 
 
HUNT: It wasn’t that many.  I just feel like it wasn’t in chronological order. 
 
MCDONALD:  Oh, it doesn’t need to be. 
 
HUNT: I like things to be organized.  And that was so sporadic. 
 
MCDONALD: Well, we can certainly send you, what we can do is type it up and send you a 
copy, so you can see what it looks like and see if there is anything else that you would like to 
add, or…oh that’s your clock.   
 
HUNT: That’s my clock. 
 
MCDONALD: I thought it was the phone at first. 
 
HUNT:  It will play a little bit every hour on the hour. 
 
DUFF:  Well, thank you. 
 
O’HARA:  Thank you very much. 
 
HUNT: What’s your names?  I don’t have your names. 
 
MCDONALD:  I’m going to give you a card. 
 
O’HARA: I don’t carry a card, but how about if I write my name on yours. 
 
MCDONALD:  Why don’t you write your name on the back of mine, and then she’ll have both 
of them. 
 
DUFF: We’ve got to get you a card. 
 
O’HARA: Well, I could just put in for one and they’d deliver it to my mailbox. 
 

Email Redacted pursuant to N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1, N.J.S.A. 47:1A-9.b, and an expectation of privacy. 
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MCDONALD: Yes, you could. 
HUNT: I remember when Stockton first got started. 
MCDONALD: Do you? 
HUNT: Everyone was worried….how is this community college going to make out, but now it’s 
been down through the years. But it’s still standing. 
MCDONALD: We’re still standing…we’re growing. 
DUFF:  Remember, these are the professors I told you about, the ones that did that exhibit about 
civil rights in south jersey.  Remember I told you I called them and I said, “Hey, you missed 
something,” talking about the King event.  So it’s been a long relationship both ways here.  But 
you guys are not allowed to tell me what they found yet. 
MCDONALD: Not yet. 
HUNT: I had worked at one time for a state teacher’s college, back in 1970 and 71. I was 
working on my Master’s so I was on the deans’ list.  And they gave me an office.  They called 
me an Assistant Director of Academic Advising.  And I was there because, and one of the men 
that worked there said he didn’t understand how I could grasp all that information, in regards to 
when the student would come in for their programs what for the year, I knew how to direct them, 
and the teachers, well they said that the teachers…strangest thing.  At one point, the teachers in 
Camden all had to be certified in the area that they taught in.  They made them go down to 
Glassboro. They had an abundance of credits, but they were in the wrong area.  And I was the 
one that would lined them up so that they would take the right courses. 
O’HARA:  We do a little bit of that. 
HUNT: But then the college said they were running short of money.  You know, last to be hired, 
first to go. 
O’HARA:  Well, here’s Michelle’s card, and my name is on the back. 
MCDONALD: His is easier to read because he wrote bigger than I did. 
O’HARA:  Reach out any time you need to. 
DUFF:  Her email is

MCDONALD:  Hold on, let me write that down.  And ours are easy.  They’re just our names, I 
mean they’re long, and they’re on the card, but it’s just our names, so they’re long 
xxxxxxxx.xxxxxxxx@xxxxxxxx.xxx and this is xxxx.xxxxx@xxxxxxxx.xxx.  
HUNT:  Wait a second, I don’t have my glass on.  I see it, Michelle.  Yeah, I remember when 
you were birthed.  I was working that time in Pleasantville, at the high school. 

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MCDONALD:  We do some work in Pleasantville now. 
HUNT:  I used to oversee the high school guidance counselor. You used to work at Pleasantville 
High School? 
MCDONALD:  No, we do some work their now. We have some after school programs (to 
O’Hara: you don’t need to record this, we don’t need to transcribe my voice). 

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Oral History Interview: 
[Transcribed by Michelle Craig McDonald from audio .mp4 file provided by Patrick Duff.  
Includes voices of Thelma Lowery and Patrick Duff] 
T[h]elma Lowery 
Camden, New Jersey 
Friday, December 1, 2017, 7:50pm 
Conducted by:   
Patrick Duff, Local Activist 
[phone rings] 
LOWERY:  Hello? 
DUFF: Hello, may I speak to Thelma? 
LOWERY: Speaking. 
DUFF: Hey Thelma, it’s Patrick Duff. 
LOWERY: Mmm….hmmm. 
DUFF:  How are you? 
LOWERY: Okay. 
DUFF:  So, I would say, would you mind if I just asked you a couple of questions via phone, so 
then I don’t gotta really bother you? 
LOWERY: Yeah. 
DUFF:  So, first, if you could, because whenever you’re kinda trying to document something you 
want to make sure you’ve got everything right, and I want to know a little bit about you.  When 
were you born…what’s your birthday and year? 
LOWERY: 5/25/32 
DUFF: And then what about… how do I spell your name? 
LOWERY: Well, my last name now? LOWERY 
DUFF: And your first name is Thelma? 

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LOWERY: Yeah. 
DUFF: Okay.  And then where did you grow up? 
LOWERY: In Camden. 
DUFF: Okay. How long did you live in Camden? 
LOWERY: All my life. 
DUFF: Okay, and what house did you grow up at…do you remember any addresses that you 
grew up at? 
LOWERY: Well, I started on Second Street, okay…don’t ask me the address, okay.. 
DUFF:  Okay, and can you tell me after Second Street? 
LOWERY: And then I moved to, uh, what’s that, Ferry Street? 
DUFF: What’s it called? 
LOWERY: Ferry Street. 
DUFF: Ferry Street.  And then after that?  
LOWERY: In the 600 block.  And then we left and went to Eighth Street, okay? And then we 
went to Walnut Street. 
DUFF:  Okay.  And how long, do you remember how long you stayed at Eighth Street? 
LOWERY:  It was three or four years, something like that. 
DUFF:  Okay.  And how about Walnut Street, how long were you at Walnut Street? 
LOWERY: I was there, let me see what grade I was in, let’s see what grade I was in, I was in 8th 
or 9th grade…. I was in Whittier School when we moved in there. 
DUFF: Okay. So you were. 
LOWERY:  I think they went up to the 6th grade, because I didn’t go there all the time; at first I 
went to Mt. Vernon Street School. And then I was transferred in when I moved on Walnut Street. 
DUFF: And what was the address at Walnut Street, do you remember? 
LOWERY: 753 [laughs]. 
DUFF: Just asking so I can confirm.  And then when you lived there, who did you live there 
with? 

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LOWERY: My parents, my mother and father, and I had a sister….in fact I had two sisters. And 
my brother. 
DUFF:  What were their names? 
LOWERY: Well, my older sister’s name was Mary, ‘cause Jethro was the oldest, my brother. 
Then there was Mary, then there was Sarah, then there was myself. 
DUFF:  Okay. And how long did you live there? Did you live there until you got married? 
LOWERY: Yes..mmm….hhmmmm. 
DUFF:  And what year was that?  Do you remember? 
LOWERY: Well, I got to look it up, the first time I got married.  I think the first time I got 
married was in, wait a minute, ’51 or ’52. 
DUFF: Okay, so you were living at the Walnut Street house… 
LOWERY: Yeah, right. 
DUFF: Right.  And were there frequent guests at the house, ever? 
LOWERY:  Yeah, all the time, because sometimes the church members would come over, and 
then my cousin and King would come through on weekends and what-not—Friday, Saturday, 
and Sunday.  
DUFF: When you say, your cousin, so Walter McCall was he your cousin, or was he Benjamin 
Hunt’s cousin? Your dad. 
LOWERY: He was my cousin. 
DUFF:  And he was your dad’s nephew, 
LOWERY: Yeah. 
DUFF:  Aha… 
LOWERY: Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute, I got to double check that one.  I’ll 
double-check it with my cousin in the south.  Because I know he was my cousin. 
DUFF:  Who is…you said you have a cousin in the south now that you can confirm this with? 
LOWERY: A younger one, the one who knows everything. 
DUFF:  What’s that person’s name? 

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LOWERY: That person’s name is…what’s her name…was it Cynthia or Linda? Oh, Sylvia. 
DUFF: Do you know her last name? 
LOWERY: Hunt. 
DUFF: Okay, Sylvia Hunt, and then you said that King had stayed there.  Who’s King? 
LOWERY: Martin Luther King. 
DUFF:  Did you ever talk with him? 
LOWERY: Yeah, ‘cause, you know, it wasn’t so much talking we could do because it was an old 
time situation, you understand what I mean? 
DUFF: No. 
LOWERY: You just don’t ask grown people’s business. You understand what I’m saying? 
DUFF: Sure. 
LOWERY:  They talk, you gotta go. 
DUFF: And now you had said, because you were living there at the time, how often would the 
two of them stay there? 
LOWERY: Every weekend. 
DUFF: Every weekend. 
LOWERY: Yeah. 
DUFF: And then what about …Walter, did he work anywhere? 
LOWERY: He lived there before, in fact, he came up when they started college.  But now where 
he worked before he came up here, I don’t know. 
DUFF: Okay. Did he work anywhere in Camden? 
LOWERY: Not as I know of. 
DUFF: Okay.  And then what about, do you remember anything about like Dr. King staying 
there that would be significant to like your memories? 
LOWERY: I mean, he was just another person to me.  

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DUFF:  Okay. 
LOWERY: I’m serious… 
DUFF:  I know, at that time he wasn’t even famous. 
LOWERY: He was just another person in the house that daddy and them liked, and you know… 
DUFF:  There was an incident that took place in Maple Shade, New Jersey.  Do you know 
anything about that incident? 
LOWERY: I know daddy told them not to go, and they went, and then they got locked up. 
DUFF:  Hmmm… can you elaborate more on when you said daddy told them not to go… 
LOWERY: Okay, they was having a discussion, right?  And they knew that certain places in 
Camden, Maple Shade, anyplace where we could not go…as blacks, could not go.  Okay.  And 
this was a type of place that blacks was not allowed.  And daddy told them.  And Martin said, 
well, it’s a free country, you know.  They shouldn’t be segregated, you know.  And they went, 
and they got locked up. 
DUFF: And when you say they got locked up, can you tell anything more about that? 
LOWERY:  Well, all I heard was  daddy said they got locked up and he had to go get them out. 
DUFF: Okay, have you ever met any of the people…was there anyone helping them at that time? 
LOWERY: Helping who? 
DUFF: Walter McCall and Dr. King. 
LOWERY: No, they wasn’t really into that …they did a little bit like that thing in Maple Shade, 
that was on their minds, you know.  Like the Civil Rights thing.  But see they was at the wrong 
place, because they was in college, you know, so they couldn’t take no college person coming 
through there making trouble. 
DUFF: Do you think they went there on purpose, to see what would happen? 
LOWERY: They went there because they wanted to go there and they said it was freedom.  They 
did, so they just wanted to go, because that was them. 
DUFF: And Thelma, just so I’m a little more clear, because you’re saying they stayed there on 
the weekends, like Friday, Saturday, Sunday … 
LOWERY: When they was in college. 
DUFF: Yeah, who drove? Did Walter have a car or King have a car? 

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LOWERY: I think King had a car. 
DUFF: Okay, do you know if Walter had a car? 
LOWERY: No, Walter ain’t had no car. No, he had my father’s car when he came over, you 
know. 
DUFF: Okay, so your dad would let him stay at the house and use the car. 
LOWERY: Yeah. 
DUFF: Well, that was very nice of him. 
LOWERY: Oh, daddy was like that when it came to family. 
DUFF:  Hmmm…and then how about, if you could just elaborate on, like, a time period, because 
I know they started school in 1948.  Were they staying there that time, the whole time? 
LOWERY: Yeah.  They stayed there the whole semester, and then another semester they started 
staying there. 
DUFF:  And when you say semester, do you know about what year that would be? 
LOWERY: No, I gotta look it up. 
DUFF: That’s okay.  And were they associated with any local churches in Camden? That you 
know of? 
LOWERY: No, no…not on the weekends. 
DUFF:  Okay. So, I’m just trying to think of any other questions…and do you want to add 
anything about, because I know you spent some time at that house, was there anything about Dr. 
King personally that you remember that you’d like to add? 
LOWERY: I was young, as I said, he was just another person in the house at the time, you know 
what I mean? 
DUFF: Sure. 
LOWERY: It wasn’t a big thing…it was like daddy always had company, had members of the 
family, right.  He would because, like, if his people came from the south, they would camp there, 
you know what I mean?  That’s the way daddy was, a family person.  So if his brother, his 
cousin bring anybody there, he gonna make them welcome. 
DUFF: Okay. And did you ever, during the summer times, were they ever there during the 
summer time? 

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LOWERY: Yeah. 
DUFF: What about, do you know anything about the house itself, like how…like where did they 
live in the house? 
LOWERY:  They lived in the ….it was a four-bedroom house.  They live in the third bedroom. 
DUFF:  And where was that located in the house? 
LOWERY: Upstairs. 
DUFF:  Upstairs in the middle or the back… 
LOWERY: Second floor. 
DUFF:  Middle, front or back second floor? 
LOWERY:  Okay, you have the front bedroom, second bedroom, third bedroom, the bathroom, 
and another bedroom. 
DUFF:  Okay, so they had the third bedroom. 
LOWERY: Yes. 
DUFF:  Okay, I’m just trying…because when I go into the house I was trying to get the layout of 
it. 
LOWERY: You’ll see it. 
DUFF: Yeah, I saw it, and then there’s like a back bedroom. 
LOWERY:  Yes. 
DUFF: So it wasn’t the back bedroom, it was the third bedroom? 
LOWERY: No, it was the third bedroom. 
DUFF: [laughs] This whole time I thought it was the back bedroom. 
LOWERY: Uh-huh. 
DUFF:  And then with Walter, I mean, do you remember, did he call…did he call your dad 
Uncle Ben, or was it like, ‘cause I was trying to, trying to figure out whether he’s your cousin, or 
if he’s your father’s cousin. 
LOWERY:  That’s what I’m saying, he called him cousin. 
DUFF:  And then you said… 

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LOWERY: No wait a minute, wait a minute, did he call him uncle or did he call him cousin?  He 
called him Uncle Ben. 
DUFF:  Uncle Ben. 
LOWERY:  Mmmm..hmmm. 
DUFF:  Okay, so then that was your cousin.  So Cynthia…Cynthia Hunt, is there any way that 
you can give her… 
LOWERY: I didn’t say Cynthia, I said Sylvia. 
DUFF:  Sylvia, I apologize.  Is there any way that you can give her my phone number? 
LOWERY: Yes. 
DUFF:  Oh that would be great, that would be incredible. 
LOWERY:  ‘Cause she only knows what her momma told her. 
DUFF:  Sure. 
LOWERY: That was my dad’s sister. 
DUFF:  And do you remember anything about when Walter died? 
LOWERY: I knew when he died because we went to the funeral, but I forgot the year. 
DUFF:  Do you remember how he passed? 
LOWERY: He had a heart attack. 
DUFF: Okay, were they any….do you remember the circumstances at all? 
LOWERY: Well, I know prior to that, he had a store down there, in Georgia, and it had got 
bombed.  And I think it was behind that. 
DUFF:  That’s sad.  Well, I really appreciate your time. And then, if you could, what about any 
were there any times that you met or you talked with Dr. King, or was it, was it kind of not 
welcome for a person to talk to the guest? 
LOWERY:  It was like a guest.  When we went to the funeral he spoke to us, you know. When 
we went to Walter’s funeral. 
DUFF:  And who spoke to you? 

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LOWERY: Dr. King’s family. 
DUFF:  Oh, his family…they were there at the funeral.   
LOWERY: Yes, oh they were very close. 
DUFF:  Now, now, did Dr. King’s family ever come to Camden? 
LOWERY: Not as I know of, no 
DUFF:  Okay. 
LOWERY:  If they did, they didn’t get in touch with us.  I would have liked that, you know. I’m 
telling the truth! 
DUFF:  Well, is there anything else you’d like to add, ‘cause this has been very beneficial. 
LOWERY:  Well, what I really want to ask you is who’s handling the house.  Because my niece 
called me and said a man went up on the roof with a piece of board today. 
DUFF:  Yeah, and they fixed …they fixed the hole on the roof on the other side. 
LOWERY:  Alright, as long as you all know. 
DUFF:  Yeah.  Absolutely, yeah, yeah… 
LOWERY: People go in there and do anything. 
DUFF:  Yeah, so we had someone go up there and just make sure the hole was fixed up there so 
we don’t have to… 
LOWERY: Okay, alright. 
DUFF: Because we’re trying to save it. 
LOWERY:  Okay, well, that’s alright by me. 
DUFF:  Hey, what do you think … 
LOWERY: Because anyone prowling around like that, I would call the cops. 
DUFF:  What do you, what do you think about whether that building has historic significance at 
all? 
LOWERY: Yeah, but it’s going to have to have work done in it.  Because I have a chair here that 
he sat in. 

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DUFF:  You have a chair at your house? 
LOWERY:  Yeah.   
DUFF:  [laughs] Goodness. 
LOWERY: I do. 
DUFF:  Thelma, is there any possible…. 
LOWERY: And you know how I got that chair, it was my mother’s…. 
DUFF: Hmmm… 
LOWERY: …and my father’s chair.  And that’s the only thing that I could…and I held on to 
that, and the dining room set.  But I gave the dining room set to my aunt. 
DUFF:  Were there ever pictures of the family with Dr. King? 
LOWERY: No, that’s what I’m saying, I’ve been looking for those pictures and what not; I think 
my sister-in-law got ahold of them. 
DUFF: Okay. 
LOWERY: And she act like she don’t want to give them also. 
DUFF:  Hmmm…. 
LOWERY: But she’s that type. 
DUFF: [laughs] 
LOWERY:  She is.  That’s why, you know, I said in the beginning I will stand my distance. 
DUFF:  Well, you’re very important to the story because you actually lived there. 
LOWERY: Yeah, right. 
DUFF:  And so, just, if you have any questions or you need to get ahold of me… 
LOWERY:  Well, I got your number now because I was going to look for your number, and I 
said no….because you were selling cars or something, right? 
DUFF:  Right, and now I’m selling houses. 
LOWERY: Because last time I talked to you, you said you were doing a sale. 
DUFF:  Well, I really appreciate talking to you, and I’ll talk to probably again very soon. 

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LOWERY: Well, okay then, alright. 
DUFF: Thank you Thelma , bye. 
LOWERY:  Bye. 
DUFF:  That was an interview with Thelma Lowery.  It is now 8pm, December 1 and 2017.  My 
name is Patrick Duff.  Over and out. 


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From: O'Hara, John [mailto:John.O'xxxx@xxxxxxxx.xxx] 
Sent: Wednesday, June 07, 2017 11:59 AM 
To: McMickle, Marvin 
Cc: Sauve, Stephanie; McDadeClay, Tom 
Subject: Stockton University follow up 
Dear President McMickle: 
I am writing to follow up on previous efforts to contact CRCDS related to institutional records 
from Crozer Theological Seminary, Chester, PA, particularly those providing information about 
Martin Luther King, Jr., and Walter McCall from 1948-51. 
The New Jersey Office of Historic Preservation (NJOHP) has awarded Stockton University a 
grant to investigate the significance of a certain property in Camden, NJ, in the life of Martin 
Luther King, Jr., while he was a student at Crozer.  This property was apparently occupied some 
of the time by Walter McCall, and King is also thought to have spent a portion of time there -- 
including a week in the summer of 1951 when he encounter racial discrimination in a Maple 
Shade tavern, and followed up by filing charges against the proprietor. 
The thinking among some Camden residents and city leaders is that historic preservation of the 
home might be warranted.  My research team has been charged with investigating and reporting 
on the significance of the site in King’s formative experience in order to determine whether or 
not historic site designation should be sought.  Senators Kean (R-NJ) and Norcross (D-NJ) have 
weighed in, and Congressman John Lewis (D-GA) has offered assistance, too.  For some 
background, please see  The New York Times  on the issues at play, link below. 
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/15/nyregion/martin-luther-king-jr-camden-new-
jersey.html? r=0 
We are working directly under Kate Marcopul, referenced in the article as the administrator of 
the New Jersey Office of Historical Preservation, and others at NJOHP. 
As a previous message requested, we would very much like to identify any pertinent information 
or records held by CRCDS related to Dr. King’s residency, including information about 
• dormitory policies from 1948-51 (costs, terms of residency, duration of residency);
• school policies related to resident students (were students required to stay on campus,
asked to sign in and out of dorms, etc.?); 
• information about King and McCall vis-à-vis residency (did either or both pay for rooms
each term; did McCall really commute daily from Camden, and if so, would he have been 
able to stay with King on select nights, and vice versa – would King have spent any as-
yet-undocumented time at the Camden residence?); 
• any documents or evidence showing King’s or McCall’s presence on campus or in
Chester or Camden on evenings and weekends from 1948-51; 
• any other information relevant to the central question about the importance of the
Camden address (753 Walnut) to King or McCall during their time at Crozer 

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 The record is so scant, any bit of information will help.  We would be delighted to visit and 
examine institutional records if anyone at CRCDS can help us identify pertinent resources. 
I appreciate yours and CRCDS’s willingness to work with us on this important historical 
research. 
Sincerely, 
John F. O’Hara, Ph.D. 
Associate Professor 
School of General Studies 
Master of Arts in American Studies Program 
Stockton University 
Galloway, NJ 08205 
From: McDadeClay, Tom [mailto:xxxxxxxxxxx@xxxxx.xxx] 
Sent: Wednesday, June 7, 2017 12:49 PM 
To: O'Hara, John <John.O'xxxx@xxxxxxxx.xxx>; McMickle, Marvin <xxxxxxxxx@xxxxx.xxx> 
Cc: Sauve, Stephanie <xxxxxx@xxxxx.xxx> 
Subject: RE: Stockton University follow up 
Dear Dr. O’Hara, 
We reviewed your request and, unfortunately, we do not have any of the documents or 
information you are requesting. 
It is unlikely that all the records from Crozer Theological were transferred to our campus in 
Rochester after the merger.  I also think it is unlikely that the types of records you are requesting 
would have been retained by Crozer for a long period of time, although we do not have 
information related to their document retention practices.  We will be certain to contact you 
should we come across anything that would be helpful to your efforts. 
There are Crozer graduates who may be able to speak to the general policies during their time at 
the school.  Should you wish to speak with them, please let me know and we can discuss how to 
proceed. 
I am sorry we are not able to assist you in this effort.  We wish you all the best. 
-Tom
Thomas McDade Clay 
Vice President for Institutional Advancement 
Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School 
From: O'Hara, John [mailto:John.O'xxxx@xxxxxxxx.xxx] 
Sent: Tuesday, June 13, 2017 3:24 PM 

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To: McDadeClay, Tom 
Subject: RE: Stockton University follow up 
Dear Tom: 
Thank you very much for your response.  This research has been difficult because we are looking 
for something we don’t know is “there,” in fact.  Our report would benefit from any piece of the 
puzzle we can put together.  For example, if we learned about dormitory policies, it would show 
a comprehensive effort, even if we learn little. 
Contacts for any alumnae from that era who would be willing to correspond with me would be 
much appreciated. 
Sincerely, 
John O’Hara 
McDadeClay, Tom <xxxxxxxxxxx@xxxxx.xxx> 
Tue 6/13/2017 3:28 PM 
To: 
O'Hara, John; 
Ok.  Thanks, John.  We will put out a notice to some of our Crozer alums and encourage them to 
be in contact with you directly via e-mail.  There are still living graduates from that time period, 
but not too many. 
I was just down at the old Crozer campus last week.  It was sad to see the old buildings in 
various states of disrepair.  I appreciate your efforts to help preserve the physical places related 
to Dr. King’s legacy. 
-Tom

Email Redacted pursuant to N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1, N.J.S.A. 47:1A-9.b, and an expectation of privacy. 
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Email and Telephone Interview: 
Janet Milton 
Thursday, October 26, 2017 
Conducted by:   
John O’Hara, Associate Professor of Critical Thinking, Stockton University 
The email exchanges below with Janet Milton, the daughter of Walter McCall, friend to Martin 
Luther King, Jr. at Morehouse College and, subsequently, at Crozer Seminary.  The initial 
conversation took place following a telephone conversation on Wednesday, October 25, 2017, 
between John O’Hara and Janet Milton, as well as her husband Julius Milton, in which Mileton 
agreed to participate in Stockton’s biographical investigation on behalf of the New Jersey 
Historic Preservation Office, but requested to do so by email and in writing. 
All original phrasing and spelling has been retained. 
[Follow thread top to bottom – i.e. the original correspondence appears first] 
On Thursday, October 26, 2017 7:51 AM, "O'Hara, John" <John.O'xxxx@xxxxxxxx.xxx> wrote: 
Dear Janet (and Julius): 
Thank you very much for getting back to me yesterday about our research project related to your 
father.  My apologies for being out of breath and low on battery!   
I am especially thankful that you are willing to take out time to answer my questions via email.  I 
have attached the questions as well.  You may answer by reply to this email, or in the 
document—whatever is most convenient. 
As I mentioned in my phone message, we are working for the State of New Jersey in an effort to 
better understand both Walter McCall’s and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s, activities in Camden, 
New Jersey, while they were students at Crozer Theological Seminary, in Chester, PA.  Once our 
report is submitted to the state, I would be glad to share it with you.  I would also like to follow 
up after this report is completed to attempt to write a fuller history of Walter and Martin, their 
shared backgrounds and their paths as intellectuals, theologians, academics and activists. 
Below are a set of questions – it is no problem if you don’t know or recall answers, but any 
efforts to remember any details are appreciated. 
With much appreciation – John 
John O’Hara, Ph.D. 
Associate Professor 
Stockton University 
Galloway, NJ 08205 
609-652-4249 / office
484-432-6873 / mobile (preferred)

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Questions: 
1 Walter and Martin were friends from Morehouse and both ended up attending Crozer in 
Chester, PA.  Do you recall learning about the circumstances in which they both ended up at 
Crozer?  Did they start at the same time?  Do you know where Walter was living, working or 
being educated between June 1948 and January 1948? 
2 Do you know anything about their summer 1948 trip to Haverford College in PA for training in 
field work practices interviewing southern Baptist ministers, especially anything about where 
they stayed during this trip? 
3 Do you know if Walter lived in the dormitories at Crozer during his time there?  If so, did he 
ever speak of dormitory life with MLK – such as where their rooms were, etc.?  Did Walter ever 
speak of campus activities, day t day life on campus?  Did he ever speak of other activities such 
as what they did for leisure or fun at the time? 
4 MLK was threatened by a fellow classmate with a pistol in Crozer’s “Old Main” dormitory in 
1950.  Did Walter witness this incident that you know of, or ever speak of it?  If so, what did he 
say? 
5 Can you recall any other information about Walter or Martin’s activities on campus, in 
Chester, or the surrounding area, including Camden, NJ? 
6 Your father in a 1970 interview said that he went to Philadelphia after high school “and stayed 
there until I went into the Army in 1943.”  Do you know where he lived or stayed during this 
time? 
7 In the same interview, he says that after his Freshman year at Morehouse (1944-45?), he “went 
back to Philadelphia [and] there I remained throughout all my tenure at Morehouse.”  Do you 
recall where your father stayed or lived when he was in Philadelphia area, when he was a student 
at Morehouse BEFORE entering Crozer Theological Seminary? 
8 Did your father or do you have family relations in Camden, NJ, wither during the 1940s and 
1950s or today? 
9 Do you know of or have you ever heard of Benjamin Hunt, who owned a property in Camden 
where Walter and Martin were said to have stayed occasionally? 
10 Have you ever heard of the incident of racial discrimination encountered by Martin and 
Walter in Maple Shade, NJ, on June 10-11, 1950.  Can you recall Walter ever speaking about it? 
11 Can you recall any other information from your father about Camden, NJ – any time spent 
there, whether or not he preached or spoke there, whether or not he alone (or with Martin) ever 
visited, stayed, etc., in Camden, and if so any information on people or places they visited? 

Email Redacted pursuant to N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1, N.J.S.A. 47:1A-9.b, and an expectation of privacy. 
Bibliographical Investigation: MLK and 753 Walnut Street Final Report
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From: Julius Milton 
Date: October 26, 2017 at 4:25:51 PM EDT 
To: "O'Hara, John" <John.O'xxxx@xxxxxxxx.xxx> 
Subject: Re: Interview Questions re: Walter McCall 
Reply-To: Julius Milton 
Hello, John. I have attempted to answer your questions as accurately as possible.  The answers 
are attached below. I wish you well with your project. 
Janet MCCall Milton 
[answers were appended as a Word file, and were copied and pasted here to create a complete 
record] 
Answers to Interview questions for John O’hara 
1.Yes, both Dad, Walter, and Mike (Martin) started Crozier together at the same time. They were
very good friends at Morehouse; so, they pretty much mimicked each other in many ways even
deciding on a seminary. I do not know where he lived between June ’48 and Jan.’48
2. No  idea about this question.
3. For a time he did live in a dorm, but I have heard him speak of being housed by friends and
others while he was a Crozier. The only thing I can recall is that they like to play pool together.
He often alluded to the fact that they were competitive.
4.I never heard Dad speak of MLK being threatened with a gun.
5. The only mentioning that I recall was that they both loved to sit at the feet of J. Pius Barber.
He was a mentor to both. I think this was around the same time he was in Chester or Camden.
6. I have forgotten, but I used to know the name of a family that befriended him in Philadelphia.
The Kirklands for some reason sound very familiar. I am not sure if he stayed with them after
high school or years later.ne
7. I never heard Dad say that he remained in Philadelphia throughout his years at Morehouse.
This is news to me. How was he able to matriculate living in Philadelphia? We did not have
online school back in the day. I am pretty sure this info was misinterpreted. To my knowledge,
he spent his days on campus. I have a few pictures (had) of him on campus with my mom and a
few other friends.
8.I do not know of any of his family members who lived or live now in the Camden area.
9.I have never heard of Benjamin Hunt
10.Dad spoke briefly about encounters. Was this the one where they sat all day in the restaurant
until they were ejected and arrested? Not sure if this is the same account.

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178
11. Actually, I don’t recall him talking much at all about this area. I was very young and often
inattentive. I wish I had listened to him and Uncle Mike more in my youth. I just didn’t deem it
important at the time.
From: "O'Hara, John" <John.O'xxxx@xxxxxxxx.xxx> 
Date: October 26, 2017 at 6:38:32 PM EDT 
To: Julius Milton  
Subject: Re: Interview Questions re: Walter McCall 
Dear Janet:  Thank you so much for your attention and answers.  With such a scant record, every 
bit helps. 
One final follow up.  Today, I interviewed 86-year old Jeanine Hunt, the daughter in law of 
Benjamin Hunt, the man thought to have temporarily housed your father in Camden, who at one 
point called him a cousin.   
Mrs. Hunt may be mistaken but she said that she and her father traveled to Atlanta for Water 
McCall's funeral and visited your family.  She also mentioned that she thought your father at the 
time had a business -- something involved with meat processing -- and that she had heard his 
business had been sabotaged in some way (she wasn't very clear on this point). 
Does any of this ring true or accord with my facts you know of? 
Apologies for such personal questions, but again much appreciation if you can respond. 
All the best, 
John 
From: Julius Milton  
Date: October 26, 2017 at 11:10:12 PM EDT 
To:  "O'Hara, John" <John.O'xxxx@xxxxxxxx.xxx> 
Subject: Re: Interview Questions re: Walter McCall 
Hi again, John. There were so many people at his funeral, I really do not remember meeting Mrs. 
Hunt. My dad did indeed have a sausage business at the time of his demise, and yes, his 
equipment for making the sausage was sabotaged a few days before the grand opening of his 
official business. We really think that this act had a great physical impact on his body, thus 
attributing to his ultimate fatal heart attack. I am so very sorry that I do not remember Mrs. Hunt. 
Janet Milton 

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