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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.

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Crozer Theological Seminary Brochure

This brochure provides information about Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania. The brochure lists full details of the campus, programs of study, and admissions.

Letter from MLK to George Bass

Friday, June 17, 1966

Dr. King responds to Mrs. George Bass' recent letter inviting him to speak at the annual convention of the Planned Parenthood Association. Dr. King regretfully declines the invitation because his schedule is booked for the entire month of January.

Negro Church Finest Hope for Christianity

Thursday, January 18, 1962

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.

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.

Transcripts for Courses at Harvard University

Thursday, August 13, 1953

Lois Ryan forwards a transcript for two courses that Dr. King took while studying at Harvard University. These courses were Philosophy of Plate: Introductory and The Philosophy of Whitehead.

Promotional Article for Why We Can't Wait

This Harper released publication contains a preview of the religious books to be published in the summer and fall of 1964. Dr. King's "Why We Can't Wait" is featured with the byline "The 'Man of the Year' writes the 'Book of the Year'."

Request from Wm. James Stuart to MLK

Monday, June 14, 1965

Wm. James Stuart, a student, seeks the recommendation of books that helped Dr. King develop his own way of preaching.

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.

The Great Empire During the Sojourn In Egypt

Dr. King contemplates the history of Egypt, noting that little is known about the time the Israelites spent there. At some point "Asiatic peoples," the Hyksos, invade Egypt and built a powerful empire known as the area of Syria and Palestine. Using horse and chariot technology the Hyksos conquered the land. Eventually, native rulers of Thebes in upper Egypt drove out the Hyksos.

Problems of Esthetics

Dr. King writes class notes from his Problems of Esthetics course at the University of Pennsylvania around 1950-1951. He enrolled in the above class while attending Crozer Theological Seminary.

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.

Letter from William G. Broaddus to MLK

Wednesday, August 30, 1967

The Editor of the Dicta column from The Virginia Law Weekly writes Dr. King to request a contribution to their "Law for the Poor" series. Mr. Broaddus states that an ideal article will discuss landlord tenant problems and offer solutions. He tells Dr. King that his work in Chicago "on the landlord tenant problem...[makes you] well qualified to write on this subject."

Dr. King's Schedule October 1967

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

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."

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.

Outline Regarding Man

Dr. King's outline regarding a number of topics pertaining to Man and ones pilgrimage through life.

Plato Psychology

Dr. King explores Plato's contribution to psychology.

MLK Interview on NBC's Meet the Press

Sunday, March 28, 1965

This edition of NBC's Meet the Press featured Dr. King for a discussion concerning the Civil Rights Movement and its demonstrations. The interview was moderated by Ned Brooks and the panel featured John Chancellor, James J. Kilpatrick, Tom Wicker and Lawrence E. Spivak.

Syllabus for the History of Christianity

This document is a course syllabus for the History of Christianity.

The Weaknesses of Liberal Theology

In this paper from his Crozer Seminary days, Dr. King discusses his thoughts regarding liberal theology, which he thinks is the most logical theology that exists. There are weaknesses, however, one being that it often loses itself in higher criticism.

Essay Outline by John Mates on Helmut Richard Niebuhr

Friday, April 20, 1951

John Mates contests the influence of Helmut Richard Niebuhr written contributions to the church through his congruent philosophy with Jesus Christ's message. Mr. Mates further discusses the churches relations to the societal influences of politics and economics.

Abelard on Universals and theMethod of Descartes

Dr. King references Peter Abelard, medieval French philosopher and theologian. He discerns that universals cannot be things or words. Rather, the universal is a concept. King maintains that this quandary is relevant to "Schoolmen" and particularly the dogma of the Church. He continues by also noting philosopher Rene Descartes, and that "he was at fault in overemphasizing mathematical method."

Morehouse Introduction to Philosophy Notes

These typed notes from Dr. King’s early years at Morehouse College are for an Introduction to Philosophy course led by Professor Samuel Williams. King outlines the topic of highest ends: motive and standard, changing and unchanging morality, and reason and emotion that determine the standard.

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.

Commencement Ceremony at Boston University

This photograph shows a commencement ceremony at Boston University in June of 1959.

Invitation from Manitoba New Democratic Party

Thursday, August 19, 1965

B. Swailes, Provincial Secretary of the Manitoba New Democratic Party, extends a speaking invitation to Dr. King to discuss human rights.

Letter from Geraldine Ford to MLK

Saturday, December 28, 1968

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.

Individualization

Dr. King cites philosopher and theologian Paul Tillich's definition of individualization. He explains, "it is implied in and constitutive of every self, which means that at least in an analogous way it is implied in and constitutive of every being."

Bibliography Compiled by MLK

This handwritten bibliography documents texts that discuss theology.