Themes

The Archive

Digital Archive brought to you
by JPMorgan Chase & Co.

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

Optimism

Dr. King quotes F. S. Marvin's "The Living Past."

Immortality

"Immortality" is the title of this handwritten note card by Dr. King, who documents a story of Socrates and the harp as an analogy to man.

Sin

Dr. King writes on sin as described in Jeremiah 4:22.

Death

Dr. King writes on the "empty feeling" of death, citing St. Augustine's autobiographical book, "Confessions." This index card contains a quote from the work in which the philosopher reflects on the death of his closest friend.

God

Dr. King references the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy to illustrate God's perfection.

Apocalyptic Religion

Dr. King quotes John Oman's "the Natural and The Supernatural."

Evil (Problem of)

Dr. King discusses the concept of evil.

Theory of Perception in the Light of the Fallacy of Misplaced Concreteness

Dr. King examines Alfred North Whitehead's "fallacy of misplaced concreteness" as described in "Science and the Modern World."

Infralapsarianism

Dr. King defines infralapsarianism.

God (Evil)

Dr. King quotes Anicius Severinus Manlius Boethius, from "De Consolatione Philosophiae" (Consolation of Philosophy).

Greeks

GREECE

Dr. King shares his personal insight on Greek and African "ability," relative to African-Americans.

Religious Education

Dr. King discusses the topic of religious education. King asserts that religious education should not become a substitute for personal evangelism and that "religious instruction without conversion is comparatively ineffective."

Anglicanism

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

Pride

Dr. King quotes Bertrand Russell’s “Power: A New Social Analysis.”

Social Ethics in Psalms

Dr. King writes about social ethics as discussed in Psalms 72.

Immortality

Dr. King highlights a quote from Harry Emerson Fosdick's book "Assurance of Immortality."

Tests of Great Music

Dr. King lists five criteria to use to evaluate whether a piece of music is great. Great music should hold its appeal over time, connect different experiences, foster a deeper life experience, unify history and integrate the individual personality.

His Attitude Toward Higher Criticism

Dr. King quotes German philosopher Immanuel Kant's book "The Preface to the First Edition.

Definition of History

Dr. King explains a definition of history.

Tillich's Method

Dr. King quotes Paul Tillich’s “The Protestant Era.” He used this quote in his doctoral dissertation, “A Comparison of the Conceptions of God in the Thinking of Paul Tillich and Henry Nelson Wieman.”

God

Dr. King expresses the power of God as being infinite beyond comprehension of man.

Primacy of Events

Dr. King notes Alfred North Whitehead’s view on the primacy of events over space and time.

Unity

Dr. King documents insight regarding unity, reason, and God.

Augustinanism

Dr. King writes notes on Saint Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, and his "vast theological system" called Augustinianism. Dr. King describes the system as a comprehensive church philosophy that was very pessimistic about the nature of man.

What Is a Cause

Dr. King quotes Alfred North Whitehead's "Principles of Natural Knowledge."

Paul Tillich

Dr. King references the theologian, Paul Tillich, by asserting, "If philosophy of religion does not consider the revelation claim of religion, it misses its object and doesn't deal with real religion."

Evil

Dr. King writes about evil, according to Jeremiah 44: 23.

Original Sin

Dr. King writes a definition of original sin.

Barth

Dr. King writes about Karl Barth's theology regarding revelation.

Zephaniah and Knowledge

Dr. King places the biblical prophet Zephaniah historically and cites Zephaniah 3:12 and 3:17 on knowledge received from God.