Themes

The Archive

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.

Explore another theme

Plato Psychology

Dr. King explores Plato's contribution to psychology.

God (Definition)

Dr. King records ideas on Karl Marx's and John Dewey's definitions of God.

Athanasius, St.

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

Nationalism

Dr. King cites a biblical scripture from the book of Isaiah where it is asserted that "God's house is to be a house of prayer for all people."

Man

Dr. King records geologist Robert Gheyselinck’s observation about the brevity of human history in relation to the earth’s history

Justification (Ritschl)

Dr. King quotes Albert Ritschl's "The Christian Doctrine of Justification and Reconciliation."

Kierkegaard

Dr. King writes notes regarding Danish philosopher and theologian Doren Kierkegaard's views on ethics and religion.

Dialectical Theology

Dr. King outlines dialectical theology, an approach to theology in Protestantism. King discerns that the "dogmatic arise primarily out of the demands of the religious consciousness."

The New Covenant

Dr. King writes about the New Covenant, according to Jeremiah 31:33.

Immortality

Dr. King quotes a scripture from the Old Testament book of Job regarding immortality and the "affirmation of the mortality of man."

Revelation

Dr. King quotes from Edgar S. Brightman's "Philosophy of Religion."

Objects and the Nature of Thought

Dr. King notates the various explanations of "objects" and "the nature of thought."

John Cowles Views on Asia

Dr. King records the views of John Cowles, chairman of Look magazine and president of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Cowles stated that the US is losing its grip on "the minds of men" worldwide, thanks in part to the US' inability to express sympathy for the Asian community after World War II.

Nature

Dr. King quotes Aristotle's "Physics, Book II" and notes Spinoza's view of nature.

Ethics

Dr. King quotes a scripture from the book of Psalms discussing ethics.

Humanism (15th Century)

Dr. King reflects on a classical approach to learning.

Mysticism

Dr. King cites Psalms 17:15, surmising that the vision of God is a mystical union with God.

Dynamic Form Applied to God

Dr. King quotes Paul Tillich's Systematic Theology on the difference in applying the dynamic form to God versus applying it to man.

Reason

Dr. King quotes Edgar S. Brightman's "The Finding of God."

Preaching

Dr. King notes three points about preaching.

Knudson, Albert

Dr. King references Albert Knudson's "The Doctrine of Redemption."

Religion

Dr. King quotes William Ernest Hocking’s “The Meaning of God in Human Experience.”

Kant

Dr. King outlines principles of Kantian philosophy regarding morality and religion.

Law of Love

Dr. King quotes Reinhold Niebuhr's "The Nature and Destiny of Man" on the place of the "law of love" in relation to human history.

Cardinal Virtues

Dr. King defines "cardinal virtues" and then lists those held by the Greeks and Christians.

Anglicanism

This note card briefly compares Anglicanism to Roman Catholicism and Calvinism.

Social Philosophy

Dr. King documents Paul Tillich's view towards Marxism.

The Secular in Relation to the Holy

Dr. King quotes theologian and philosopher Paul Tillich's "Systematic Theology." Dr. King's doctoral degree is in systematic theology from Boston University and his dissertation is on Paul Tillich. According to Tillich, secular and holy correlate and cannot act separately. Tillich states, "The holy embraces itself and the secular."

Jerome

Dr. King records a short biography of the theologian Jerome.

Freedom

Dr. King quotes Tillich in sketching his views on man's freedom in relation to destiny.