After the letter...
Summarizing King's remarks in his book, Mazo wrote that King "strongly opposed" Nixon at first but came to see him as "a superb diplomat."
Nevertheless, by 1960 Nixon had let him down. In October of 1960, King was jailed in Georgia during a sit-in demonstration seeking to integrate lunch counters. He received a call of support from presidential hopeful John F. Kennedy, but Nixon, then locked in an extremely close race with Kennedy, never called.
Nixon "had been supposedly close to me," King wrote in his autobiography, "he would call me frequently about things, seeking my advice. And yet, when this moment came, it was like he had never heard of me. So this is why I really considered him a moral coward and one who was really unwilling to take a courageous step and take a risk. ... It indicated the direction that this man would take, if he became president."
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