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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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MLK Examination Blue Book

Friday, May 23, 1947

Dr. King used this "Blue Book" to record answers for a Bible exam taken on May 23, 1947.

Letter from Boston University Graduate School

Friday, October 9, 1953
Boston, MA

Ms. Bessie A. Ring, a representative from the Boston University Graduate School registrar's office, highlights and outlines various changes that have been made to the leaflet on the "Preparation of the Dissertation for the Ph.D. Degree."

MLK's Notes On the Influence of Radio

Dr. King records information regarding religious broadcasting. He list percentages of public influence, prize giveaways and other relevant historical details.

Out of Segregation's Long Night

Montgomery, AL, Atlanta, GA, Georgia (GA), Alabama (AL)

Dr. King addresses the crisis of race relations in America by asserting that there would not be a crisis if blacks accepted inferiority and injustice. He also discusses the physical and spiritual harm that segregation and slavery has caused for blacks and the effect that violence has on the community. Dr. King closes with remarks regarding nonviolence and what it truly represents.

Relation Between Esthetics and Science

Dr. King writes notes regarding "The Relation Between Esthetics and Science." King cites several philosophers, psychologists, and scientists, and their different theories regarding science, mathematics, art, and esthetics.

Letter from MLK to George Bass

Friday, June 17, 1966
Pennsylvania (PA), Philadelphia, PA

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.

Temple Sholom Concert Forum Committee Announces MLK as Guest Lecturer

Chicago, IL, Illinois (IL)

Chicago's Temple Sholom encourages interested parties to reserve their tickets soon, given the widespread enthusiasm for Dr. King's upcoming speaking engagement.

Class Syllabus: Sociology of Religion

This portion of a syllabus lists the basic bibliography and outline for the Sociology of Religion course taught by Kenneth Underwood. Included are several well known authors that influenced Dr. King's studies, e.g. Paul Tillich and Reinhold Niebuhr.

Citation for MLK

Sunday, June 4, 1961
Connecticut (CT)

This document contains the passage read on the occasion of the conferral of an honorary doctoral degree from University of Bridgeport to Dr. King.

Bibliography Compiled by MLK

Chicago, IL, Boston, MA, New York, NY

This handwritten bibliography documents texts that discuss theology.

MLK Interview on NBC's Meet the Press

Sunday, March 28, 1965
Washington, D.C., Alabama (AL), Montgomery, AL, Selma, AL

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.

Evil

Dr. King references the religious philosopher William Ernest Hocking regarding the topic of evil.

The Philosophy of Life

In "The Philosophy of Life Undergirding Christianity and the Christian Ministry," Dr. King references the abundance and reverence of a good life by noting the Biblical apostle John and the European theologian Albert Schweitzer. King notes that the minister plays an important role by providing leadership in experiencing the Kingdom on Earth.

Letter from Morehouse College President to MLK

Saturday, May 7, 1966
Atlanta, GA

Morehouse College President Dr. Benjamin E. Mays appeals to Dr. King to contribute to the school on the occasion of the college?s 100th anniversary.

The Great Empire During the Sojourn In Egypt

EGYPT, SYRIA, PALESTINIAN TERRITORY, OCCUPIED

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.

MLK Norway Radio Interview

Monday, November 9, 1964
Oslo, Norway, NORWAY, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, London, England, PAKISTAN, INDIA, CONGO / ZAIRE

Dr. King addresses the importance of the Chicago Adult Education Project and the impact it would have on the Lawndale community. Issues of discrimination, segregation, racism, and oppression have lead to constant riots and violence in this densely populated area. Dr. King submits the idea that, to cure the issue of the "ghetto", Americans and the government must work to eradicate the causes by offering better education, better housing, and fair wages instead of "anti-riot" legislation.

Letter from Helen White to MLK

Monday, July 31, 1967
Virginia (VA)

Ms. White seeks the opinion of Dr. King for her research on American Aristocracy.

Letter from William G. Broaddus to MLK

Wednesday, August 30, 1967
Virginia (VA), Illinois (IL), Chicago, IL

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."

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.

The Purpose of Religion

Dr. King argues that the purpose of religion is not to "perpetuate a dogma," but to create witnesses to the power of God. He also considers whether salvation comes from upholding a particular creed or whether it comes from an individual reconciling with God.

Abstract of MLK's Dissertation "A Comparison of the Conceptions of God in the Thinking of Paul Tillich and Henry Nelson Wieman"

Boston, MA, Massachusetts (MA)

Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.'s abstract of his doctoral dissertation in Systematic Theology at Boston University details the fundamental problem of evaluating the concept of God in the philosophical and theological thoughts of Paul Tillich and Nelson Wieman; methods of procedure implemented throughout his research; and his conclusions drawn from the teachings of Tillich and Wieman.

Letter from Sankey Blanton to MLK

Wednesday, October 3, 1951
Pennsylvania (PA), Boston, MA, Massachusetts (MA), Chester, PA

Sankey Blanton, of Crozer Theological Seminary, sends Martin Luther King, Jr. half of his fellowship grant for the 1951-1952 academic year. A second check will be sent when they have received his first semester grades and registration for the second semester.

Where Do We Go From Here (Chapter V Draft)

Alabama (AL), Atlanta, GA, Birmingham, AL, Georgia (GA), New York (NY), Selma, AL, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

This draft of Where Are We Going?, Chapter 5 of Dr. King's book Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? was significantly edited before publication but the central ideas are here. The government's failure to develop economic justice programs cannot be blamed on the Civil Rights Movement's lack of ideas, as often claimed. Building the political will for change is more important for the movement. The rights of Negroes to economic well-being are well aligned with goals and tactics of the labor movement. Negro leadership needs to be developed from within the community.

Blue Spiral Notebook

North Carolina (NC)

Contained in this notebook is a draft of Dr. King's statement to Judge James E. Webb following his arrest during the Rich's Magnolia Tea Room Sit-In. There is also an outline of a letter to female students who were arrested during the sit-in. On other pages a child practices handwriting.

Commencement Ceremony at Boston University

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

MLK's Examination Book for Bible Course

Dr. King writes this essay about the problems Habakkuk presents to Jehovah. He argues that God no longer judges humanity as a collective entity, but as individuals within humanity.

MLK in his Study

Atlanta, GA

This is a photograph of Dr. King in his study in Atlanta.

Transcripts for Courses at Harvard University

Thursday, August 13, 1953
Cambridge, MA, Massachusetts (MA)

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.

Syllabus for the History of Christianity

FRANCE, GERMANY, SWITZERLAND, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

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

MLK's Address at the University of the West Indies

Sunday, June 20, 1965
JAMAICA

Dr. King spoke at the Valedictory Service of the University of the West Indies in Mona, Jamaica in 1965. On his topic "Facing the Challenge of a New Age," Dr. King addresses the international movement towards peace and equality, stating that "the wind of change is blowing all over the world."