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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.

Letter from David Cole Gordon to MLK

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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

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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

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.

Request from Wm. James Stuart to MLK

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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.

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

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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

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.

Friends Journal: A Quaker Weekly

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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

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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

MLK's Address at the University of the West Indies

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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

Letter from Helen White to MLK

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

Monday, July 31, 1967

Thoughts on Nobel Prize

This draft of Dr. King's Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech lends recognition to the nonviolent practices of those engaged in the fight for equality and civil rights.

MLK in his Study

This is a photograph of Dr. King in his study in Atlanta.

MLK Manuscript: Why We Can't Wait

This document reflects one page of the original manuscript of "Why We Can't Wait." "Why We Can't Wait" is a book by Martin Luther King, Jr. about the civil rights struggle against racial segregation in the United States, and specifically in Birmingham, Alabama.

MLK's GRE Scores

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This report contains MLK's graduate record examination scores.

Thursday, February 1, 1951

Non-Violent Procedures to Inter-Racial Harmony

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In this early speech to a NY Universalists' convention, Dr. King lays out his nonviolence method, based on Gandhi's. He outlines five of the six principles he will use later. They are: active, courageous resistance; winning the moral conversion of the opponent, not defeating him; attacking the forces of evil, rather than the persons doing evil; using love to avoid "internal violence of the spirit"; and faith in the inclination of the universe towards justice.

Tuesday, October 16, 1956

Those Who Fail To Speak

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Dr. King discusses the stagnant progress of desegregation despite the fact that a decade has passed since the Supreme Court's ruling on Brown v. Board of Education.

Saturday, June 5, 1965

Class Syllabus: Sociology of Religion

This portion of a syllabus lists the basic bibliography and outline for the Sociology of Religion course taught by Kenneth Underwood. Included are several well known authors that influenced Dr. King's studies, e.g. Paul Tillich and Reinhold Niebuhr.

Dr. King Acceptance as an Honorary Member of Wellesley College

Dr. King often had delayed responses due to his strenuous schedule, traveling obligations, and completion of the necessary duties as the President of the SCLC. Dr. King's letter to Miss Knight provides an example of the unintentional unpunctuality as he accepts an award as an honorary member of Wellesley College class of 1966.

Dr. King's Schedule October 1967

This schedule lists Dr. King's travel itinerary and speaking engagements, October 1967.

Where Do We Go From Here (Chapter V Draft)

This draft of Where Are We Going?, Chapter 5 of Dr. King's book Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? was significantly edited before publication but the central ideas are here. The government's failure to develop economic justice programs cannot be blamed on the Civil Rights Movement's lack of ideas, as often claimed. Building the political will for change is more important for the movement. The rights of Negroes to economic well-being are well aligned with goals and tactics of the labor movement. Negro leadership needs to be developed from within the community.

Letter from Boston University Graduate School

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Ms. Bessie A. Ring, a representative from the Boston University Graduate School registrar's office, highlights and outlines various changes that have been made to the leaflet on the "Preparation of the Dissertation for the Ph.D. Degree."

Friday, October 9, 1953

The Negro Past and It's Challenge for the Future

In honor of Negro History Week, Dr. King offers this speech on the black community's past and future in America.

Blue Spiral Notebook

Contained in this notebook is a draft of Dr. King's statement to Judge James E. Webb following his arrest during the Rich's Magnolia Tea Room Sit-In. There is also an outline of a letter to female students who were arrested during the sit-in. On other pages a child practices handwriting.

Letter from Geraldine Ford to MLK

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The president of the Oxford Union Society invites Dr. King to a debate that will possibly be televised by the British Broadcasting Corporation. The debate will discuss topics associated with the international race issue, injustice, discrimination and more. The president addresses the concerns surrounding the Black Power Movement in the United States and in Britain.

Saturday, December 28, 1968

Syllabus for Christian Social Philosophy II- Kenneth L. Smith

Dr. King earned an A in this course in 1951 and did his presentation on Jacques Maritain. This syllabus contains the reading requirements for the course and directions for a concluding presentation and report.

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