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Note Cards

Education was essential in the development of the mind of Martin Luther King, Jr. From his matriculation at Morehouse College through his doctoral studies at Boston University, Dr. King took notes on various subjects and referenced some of the most important philosophers of all time. The note cards shown in this section give you a glimpse into the molding of one of the world’s most brilliant thinkers and orators. Religion, natural law, metaphysics and the meaning of wisdom are just a few of the topics highlighted. These subjects and many more helped Dr. King’s capacity to expand his intellectual and spiritual capacity three dimensionally.


Dr. King interprets Proverbs 21:3 to mean that God wants righteousness and justice not burnt offerings.


Dr. King discusses Paul Tillich's definition of the world as a "unity of manifoldness" in "Systematic Theology."

Christianity (History Of)

Dr. King quotes Harkness on the history of Christianity. Likely this is American theologian Georgia Harkness.

Schleiermacher (Religion More Than Dogma)

Dr. King quotes Friedrich Schleiermacher’s “Speeches on Religion.” The full title of this work is “On Religion: Speeches to Its Cultured Despisers.”

Athanasius, St.

Dr. King records a short biography of the theologian St. Athanasius, identifying him as the defender of the Nicene faith.

Original Sin

Dr. King records his views regarding the doctrine of original sin.

Man (Why He Is Sinful)

Dr. King quotes Reinhold Niebuhr’s “The Nature and Destiny of Man.”


Dr. King explains that Isaiah 1:11 means God can’t be appeased by sacrifice but demands righteous living.


Dr. King references German philosopher, George Hegal, in this handwritten notecard.


Dr. King defines predestination.

Social Ethics

Dr. King cites a scripture from the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy to show that anyone who gives to the poor will be blessed.

Homogeneous Thoughts & Heterogeneous Thoughts

Dr. King describes Alfred North Whitehead's distinction between homogeneous and heterogeneous thought in "The Concept of Nature."

Marx, Karl

Dr. King quotes Karl Marx from J.W. Scott's "Syndicalism and Philosophic Realism."


Dr. King quotes Pascal's "Pensees" in this excerpt that focuses on man's greatness.


Dr. King references American theologian Niebuhr's ideas regarding Catholicism and quotes, "It pretended that the church could mediate the divine, mercy and judgement without itself standing under that judgement or requiring that mercy." This quotes derives from Niebuhr's book "The Pope's Domesticated God."


Dr. King uses a series of scriptures from the Book of Psalms and I Chronicles to show God's abiding love and faithfulness.


Dr. King quotes John Ruskin and Thomas Carlyle on the significance of the Bible.

Schleiermacher, Friedrich

Dr. King records a note on Friedrich Schleiermacher's "Speeches on Religion."


Dr. King quotes Paul Tillich's definition of "dynamics" from his book Systematic Theology.

Irresistible Grace

Dr. King notes the meaning of irresistible grace.


Dr. King quotes Leslie D. Weatherhead's "Why Do Men Suffer?"


Dr. King outlines epistemological claims that deal with the "universals" and the "particulars" of knowledge. In doing so, he references the philosophical views of Socrates and St. Thomas Aquinas.


Dr. King writes notes regarding the prophet Hosea and his views of God.


Dr. King quotes the Executive Committee of the World Council of Churches on war in an atomic age being a sin against God, as reported in The Christian Century.


Dr. King writes about man's estimation of finiteness and freedom.

Original Sin

From "The Epistle of the Romans," Dr. King records Karl Barth's observations regarding original sin, which are compared to views of the Bible, Saint Augustine and the Reformers.


Dr. King writes about the smallness of the earth in the great expanse of the universe.


Dr. King identifies the origin of the term secular as "meaning 'century,' that in time as distinguished from eternity." He explains that eternal things were more important that the things deemed to be belonging only to the present.


Dr. King describes the challenge of the Protestant Church as finding a balance between objective and subjective worship.

Religion (Definition)

Dr. King quotes John M. E. McTaggart's "Some Dogmas of Religion."