Themes

The Archive

Digital Archive brought to you
by JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Dr. King the Scholar

As a pastor and theologian, Dr. King modeled the life of a public intellectual. He was a consummate scholar, speaker and writer. Growing up the son and grandson of Baptist ministers, Dr. King was surrounded by opportunities for informal learning. In his life and studies, he had exposure to some of the nation’s brightest minds. He excelled in his days as a student at Morehouse College, Crozer Theological Seminary and Boston University. Dr. King knew the liberating power of education and this undoubtedly informed his efforts to make that power available to all children in America. This theme provides a selection of documents related to Dr. King’s life as a student and scholar.

Abelard on Universals and theMethod of Descartes

Dr. King references Peter Abelard, medieval French philosopher and theologian. He discerns that universals cannot be things or words. Rather, the universal is a concept. King maintains that this quandary is relevant to "Schoolmen" and particularly the dogma of the Church. He continues by also noting philosopher Rene Descartes, and that "he was at fault in overemphasizing mathematical method."

MLK's Notes On the Influence of Radio

Dr. King records information regarding religious broadcasting. He list percentages of public influence, prize giveaways and other relevant historical details.

Mars Lecture Series

,

This 1958 program features Dr. King as guest lecturer for the Mars Lectures at Northwestern University.

Tuesday, April 15, 1958

Why We Chose Jail Rather than Bail

Dr. King cites seven reasons for choosing jail not bail. Among them is that ?the highest expression of nonviolence is self suffering.?

Commencement Ceremony at Boston University

This photograph shows a commencement ceremony at Boston University in June of 1959.

Syllabus in Preaching and Worship

This syllabus for the course "Preaching and Worship" details the topics to be covered during the course. The following key topics are included: The Preaching Ministry of the Church, The Preparation of the Sermon, and Worship.

Letter from Massachusetts Mental Health Center to MLK

,

Drs. Myron Sharaf and Milton Greenblatt invite Dr. King to speak at the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' Department of Mental Health where the staff and researchers share an interest in ending "hate in social life."

Tuesday, January 16, 1962

Social Philosophy Seminar Outline

Dr. King’s outline of key figures and their respective works for the Social Philosophy course he taught at Morehouse College during the 1961-1962 academic year.

How My Theology Has Changed

Dr. King highlights seven main ways in which his theological views have changed since his final year at Crozer Theological Seminary.

Morehouse Introduction to Philosophy Notes

These typed notes from Dr. King’s early years at Morehouse College are for an Introduction to Philosophy course led by Professor Samuel Williams. King outlines the topic of highest ends: motive and standard, changing and unchanging morality, and reason and emotion that determine the standard.

Individualization

Dr. King cites philosopher and theologian Paul Tillich's definition of individualization. He explains, "it is implied in and constitutive of every self, which means that at least in an analogous way it is implied in and constitutive of every being."

Science Surpasses the Social Order

Dr. King wrote this essay during his career at Crozer Theological Seminary in 1951. In the paper, he discusses the disproportionate growth of science and technology compared with that of the social order. Referencing the sociological term, Dr. King refers to this predicament as "cultural lag." He attributes this problem to the "lack of world brotherhood" and asserts that the survival of civilization depends on global unity. Drawing on Republican politician Wendall Wilkie and Prime Minister Clement Attlee, Dr.

MLK Examination Blue Book

,

Dr. King used this "Blue Book" to record answers for a Bible exam taken on May 23, 1947.

Friday, May 23, 1947

Evil

Dr. King references the religious philosopher William Ernest Hocking regarding the topic of evil.

MLK's Graduation Picture From Boston University

,

This photograph captures Dr. King in his graduation gown from Boston University.

Monday, June 1, 1959

Racism in the United States

Dr. King discusses the issues of racism, Jim Crow and nonviolence in this edition of Current. He further explains that, without the tactic of nonviolence, Negroes can become hostile and bitter. Throughout this issue several other writers are featured including Leslie W. Dunbar, Langston Hughes and Fay Bennett.

Letter from David Cole Gordon to MLK

,

David Cole Gordon, Consulting Editor for American Humanist Association, requests that Dr. King provide an essay for their upcoming feature, "This is How I Live."

Wednesday, October 11, 1967

Negro Church Finest Hope for Christianity

,

Ruth Haefner forwards a publication from The Pittsburgh Courier which states, "the newly militant Negro theologians in America, may perform the miracle of raising the dead (Western Christendom) to life." She further expresses her hopes that Dr. King may do the work of reviving the Christian spirit with a weekly letter featured in London press.

Thursday, January 18, 1962

Request from Wm. James Stuart to MLK

,

Wm. James Stuart, a student, seeks the recommendation of books that helped Dr. King develop his own way of preaching.

Monday, June 14, 1965

How Do You View the Progress in School Desegregation?

In this special for the New York Times, Dr. King shares his opinion on the progress made in desegregating schools.

Religion

Dr. King quotes Borden Parker Bowne. The first name Gordon on the note card is incorrect.

Instructions for Honorary Degree Recipients

This document reflects instructions for Dr. King as the recipient of an honorary degree from Yale University. The program also includes some random handwritten notes by Dr. King and information regarding his seating arrangement.

SCLC Newsletter: July 1963

This SCLC newsletter features numerous articles written by members of the SCLC regarding Birmingham, Alabama. Also featured is a graphic story of the crisis in Birmingham.

Syllabus In Christian Education

This syllabus outlines the various elements of a course entitled "Christian Education" from Dr. King's experience at Crozer Theological Seminary.

Religion

Dr. King writes on the topic of religion, stating that the people living in the 18th century regarded religion as "the source of both political tyranny and social conflict."

The Strength of the Legacy

,

In this New York Herald Tribune article, Dr. King refers to the recent 1964 Presidential election as a decisive repudiation of segregation and extremism. He claims the election results honored the memory of President John F. Kennedy, assassinated a year earlier. Kennedy’s greatest contribution to human rights, King says, was his televised appeal to the American people on June 19, 1963 describing equal rights and equal opportunity as a moral issue as old as the scriptures and as clear as the Constitution.

Sunday, November 22, 1964

MLK's Address at the University of the West Indies

,

Dr. King spoke at the Valedictory Service of the University of the West Indies in Mona, Jamaica in 1965. On his topic "Facing the Challenge of a New Age," Dr. King addresses the international movement towards peace and equality, stating that "the wind of change is blowing all over the world."

Sunday, June 20, 1965

Friends Journal: A Quaker Weekly

,

Dr. King's article, "Nonviolence and Racial Justice" is included in this edition of the Friends Journal. Dr. King's entry discusses the various implications of race relations in America and the beneficial elements of nonviolence.

Saturday, July 26, 1958

Invitation from Manitoba New Democratic Party

,

B. Swailes, Provincial Secretary of the Manitoba New Democratic Party, extends a speaking invitation to Dr. King to discuss human rights.

Thursday, August 19, 1965

Letter from Helen White to MLK

,

Ms. White seeks the opinion of Dr. King for her research on American Aristocracy.

Monday, July 31, 1967

Pages