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Dexter Avenue Baptist Church - Guest sermons

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. first became a full-time pastor in 1954 at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. The church was founded in 1877 when a group of congregants separated from the First Colored Baptist Church. It tended to attract members of the black community with upward social mobility. Prior to King, Vernon Johns, an eccentric but intellectually gifted pastor had led the congregation. During King’s tenure, Dexter became a center of civil rights activism. The decision to launch the Montgomery Bus Boycott was made there, and King made use of the church as president of the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA). In 1974 Dexter was designated a national historic landmark, and in 1978 its name was changed to Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church.

Associated Archive Content : 8 results

A Tough Mind and A Tender Heart

An early foreshadowing of his nonviolent philosophy, Dr. King advises Negroes of a particular course of action they should adhere to in order to properly equip themselves to combat racial injustice. Seeking to avoid both complacency and hostility, he challenges those who desire self-satisfaction, as well as those who seek to pacify their oppressors, by proposing the idea of one having both a tough mind and a tender heart.

Dexter Avenue Baptist Church Annual Report, 1955-1956

This report contains vital information concerning the organizational structure, services, and members of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church. Dr. King provides a heartfelt address to the Montgomery, AL congregation as he seeks to extend the church's influence throughout the community amidst his growing involvement in the Civil Rights Movement.

Dexter Avenue Baptist Church Organ Recital

This document is Dexter Avenue Baptist Church's Program for their "Dedication of Organ and Organ Recital."

Dexter Echo: March 2, 1960

This edition of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church newsletter, The Dexter Echo, reports information about upcoming events and the latest news, including a recent gift made to Dr. King and his family. A key article speaks to the power and necessity of worship.

Loving Your Enemies

Dr. King interprets Jesus' command to "love your enemies" and outlines how to accomplish this goal. He closes this sermon by relating the philosophy of love to the use of nonviolence as a means to overcome oppression.

Program - Dexter Avenue Baptist Church 18th Anniversary Banquet 1957

The printed program, shown here, was for an anniversary banquet, in celebration of the 80th Anniversary of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, in Montgomery, Alabama. Dr. King became the pastor at Dexter Avenue from 1954-1960. Mr. T.M. Alexander, of Atlanta, Georgia, is listed as the keynote speaker. Dr. King delivered the invocation and closing remarks for the anniversary banquet, held on December 13, 1957.

Three Dimensions of a Complete Life

This sermon is one draft of Dr. King's "Three Dimensions of a Complete Life." It was first delivered by Dr. King to the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama.
Another version is entitled, "The Dimensions of a Complete Life." The first dimension is concerned with the well-being of the self. The second dimension is concerned with the well-being of others. The last dimension is concerned with reaching towards God.
As Dr. King implies, if all of these dimensions are equal, then a complete life will be obtained.

What is Man?

Citing views from historical and contemporary figures, Dr. King asserts that the definition of "man" lies somewhere between God and an animal. Dr. King contends that, although man is limited by time and space, humans are not animals, because they have the capacity for rational thought. However, the central theme that Dr. King argues is that humanity is inherently evil and must constantly strive for high moral standards.