Throughout Rev. Billy Graham’s ministry, he befriended many influential leaders from all walks of life. One of those who he considered a friend was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In his autobiography, Just As I Am, Billy Graham recounts one of their meetings.
I had known Martin Luther King, Jr., for several years. His father, who was called Big Mike, called him Little Mike. He asked me to call him just plain Mike. … While in Rio [for the Baptist World Alliance], I gave a dinner … in honor of Mike, and I invited Southern Baptist leaders from the United States to come. I wanted to build a bridge between blacks and whites in our own South, and this seemed like a good opportunity to move toward that goal. Our friendly relationship with Mike made the point with my Baptist friends.
Dr. King also participated in several of Billy Graham’s Crusades, including giving the invocation on July 18, 1957, at Madison Square Garden during the New York City Crusade.