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Dexter Avenue Baptist Church (Montgomery, AL)

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 : 76 results

A Religion of Doing

Dr. King delivered this sermon at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church on July 4, 1954. In the sermon, Dr. King asserts the importance of active religion over passive theoretical practice. Citing the Book of Matthew, he maintains that belief and action must be united, as action is the crux of true religion. He proclaims that the church has to be a passage of the "dynamic force" that encourages action of its members.

Address by MLK at 47th NAACP Annual Convention

Dr. King addresses the audience at the 47th NAACP annual convention in San Francisco, California. King begins with background information of slavery and its physical and mental effects on Africans, then tells the "Montgomery Story." This story begins with a mental transformation among blacks, which led to the Montgomery boycott. As a result of the boycott, blacks were empowered and began fighting injustice and seeking changes in unfair legislation.

Address by MLK at the Washington, DC Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom

Dr. King gives an address at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D. C. regarding race relations and the struggle for justice and racial equality in America. King discusses the responsibility of the President, Congress, and federal courts to ensure all blacks the have the opportunity and the right to vote. King closes by asserting that everyone must stand firm in faith and act only in love and nonviolence in the fight for these rights.

An Interview With MLK

A young student from Towns Elementary School in Atlanta interviews Dr. King for a class assignment. The student asks important questions relating to Dr. King's family background, career in ministry and his influence in the civil rights movement. When asked about being the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, Dr. King responds by saying, "It is more of a tribute to the thousands of gallant people who have participated in the struggle for equality, and who have done it in a peaceful, courageous manner."

Article Briefly Summarizing MLK's Life, Leadership and Accomplishments

This article acknowledges the many accomplishments made by Dr. King. The writer cites the various highlights of Dr. King's work and maintains "...America will never be the same."

Biography of MLK

Margaret B. Young details the events and accomplishments of Dr. King's life.

Central Methodist Church Program

Dr. King speaks at the Central Methodist Church after a Sunday service regarding the work that he has done for the community.

Dexter Avenue Baptist Church

This is a church program for Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in early 1956. As Pastor, Dr. King gave a sermon on "Redirecting Our Missionary Zeal."

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 Avenue Baptist Church Program

This program of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church's morning worship features Dr. King as the speaker for the service. The program further announces that Dr. King has donated one hundred dollars to the Scholarship for African students.

Dexter Echo: April 6, 1960

This edition of The Dexter Echo addressed to Dr.

Dexter Echo: February 3, 1960

This issue of the Dexter Echo honors Dr. and Mrs. King's final day at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church.

Dexter Echo: July 6, 1960

This July 1960 newsletter of The Dexter Echo is sent to Dr. and Mrs. King. The newsletter covers recent events of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, the church Dr. King pastored during his time in Birmingham, Alabama. The main article "Christian Control and Action Amid Social Tensions" questions how to manage life's tensions and discusses the nature of fear. The newsletter also includes an article on Men's Day and shares the news on various congregation members.

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.

Dr. King Does Know Where We're Going

In this letter to the editor, Rev. W. Alfred Wilkins responds to a recent editorial, which reviewed Dr. King's book "Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?" Rev. Wilkins explains why he disagrees with the previous editorial, and he summarizes several chapters he considers relevant.

Dr. King Leaves Montgomery for Atlanta

This news release announces Dr. King's decision to resign as Pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama and move to Atlanta, Georgia. Relocating to Atlanta will enable Dr. King to Co-Pastor Ebenezer Baptist Church with his father, and will leave him in close proximity to the SCLC.

Financial Statement for Dexter Avenue Baptist Church

The Financial Committee at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church details the budget and contributions for October 1955 through March 1956.

Get Well Message to MLK from the Anderson Family

The Anderson family wishes Dr. King a speedy recovery and informs him of a recent meeting with Rev. Kelley.

Lecture Tour Request from David Bilk to MLK

David Bilk, representing the British National Union of Students, requests that Dr. King present a lecture series for the larger British Universities explaining the past, present, future of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States.

Letter from Abie Williams to MLK

Mr. Williams, a former parishioner of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, now imprisoned, bids Dr. King's pastoral advice. In addition, he requests a few of Dr. Kings books for studying purposes.

Letter from Abraham Lincoln High School to MLK

Earl Saunders, an art teacher at Abraham Lincoln High School, writes to Dr. King regarding awards of merit for Dr. King's contribution to the Civil Rights Movement. Dr. King and Mr. Saunders are both alumni of Boston University's School of Theology.

Letter from Andrew Bell III and Fred Fechheimer to MLK

The "Americans in Ethiopia Who Support Civil Rights in the United States" committee sends its support and a monetary contribution to Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement.

Letter from Artist Sidney Gordon Budnick to MLK

Sidney Gordon Budnick, architect and artist, gifts Dr. King with a piece of art work and applauds Dr. King's "efforts to bring to life the brotherhood of God and of man."

Letter from Aziz Shihab to MLK

Aziz Shihab offers the services of National Tours of Jordan in arranging Dr. King's trip to the Holy Land.

Letter from Claudine Shannon to MLK

Claudine Shannon, a member of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, asks Dr. King to officiate her wedding ceremony. She mentions that he married her brother several years ago and explains that the bridegroom will cover all of Dr. King's expenses.

Letter from Gino David Dassatti to MLK

Gino David Dassatti expresses his concern that Dr. King's stand on the war in Vietnam may deem him a traitor. In Dassatti's words, "The blood of these Americans will rest forever on your soul and conscience."

Letter from Inam Rahman to MLK

Inam Rahman, member of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, sends Dr. King a copy of the letter from the President of the Council inviting him to present a speech at the Azad Memorial Lectures.

Letter from J. T. Brooks to Dr. and Mrs. MLK

Dexter Avenue Baptist Church representative J. T. Brooks conveys the church's interest in considering Dr. King for the pastorate.

Letter from Joan Daves to MLK encluding copy of British magazine SLANT

Joan Daves informs Dr. King that she has enclosed a copy of the British magazine SLANT that has a shortened version of his Riverside Church address inside.

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