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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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1964 Election

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Dr. King explains "a sizable number of Negro voters" will register for the 1964 presidential election, recognizing the significance of political participation.

The Negro Past and It's Challenge for the Future

Boston, MA, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

In honor of Negro History Week, Dr. King offers this speech on the black community's past and future in America.

Science Surpasses the Social Order

JAPAN, RUSSIAN FEDERATION, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Dr. King wrote this essay during his career at Crozer Theological Seminary in 1951. In the paper, he discusses the disproportionate growth of science and technology compared with that of the social order. Referencing the sociological term, Dr. King refers to this predicament as "cultural lag." He attributes this problem to the "lack of world brotherhood" and asserts that the survival of civilization depends on global unity. Drawing on Republican politician Wendall Wilkie and Prime Minister Clement Attlee, Dr.

A Look to 1964

Alabama (AL), Birmingham, AL, Pennsylvania (PA), Philadelphia, PA, Georgia (GA), Atlanta, GA

This is a draft of the article "A Look to 1964" written by Dr. King. Published on January 1, 1964 in the New York Amsterdam News. In the article, Dr. King addresses the strides the African American people have taken towards the struggle for equality.

SCLC Press Release

Monday, May 16, 1966
Boston, MA, Atlanta, GA, Massachusetts (MA), Georgia (GA)

This press release announces Dr. King's election as a Fellow of The American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The statement provides a brief history of the research center, including its affiliation with prestigious figures such as President John Adams and American writer Ralph Waldo Emerson. The release concludes with a brief biography of Dr. King.

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.

Bibliography Compiled by MLK

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

This handwritten bibliography documents texts that discuss theology.

Mars Lecture Series

Tuesday, April 15, 1958
Illinois (IL), Montgomery, AL

This 1958 program features Dr. King as guest lecturer for the Mars Lectures at Northwestern University.

Press Conference on Chicago Movement

Wednesday, July 7, 1965
Chicago, IL, Illinois (IL), UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Dr. King shares his acceptance of the invitation to spend some time in Chicago. During his time in Chicago, Dr. King and other SCLC leaders plan to assist local civil rights organizations in organizing rallies throughout the city.

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.

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.

MLK's Academic Record from Harvard University

Thursday, August 13, 1953

This is an original copy of Dr. King's transcript from Harvard University, displaying his grades in two Philosophy courses.

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.

The Martin Luther King Column: Life's Three Dimensions

INDIA

In this self titled column, Dr. King writes about his theory of the three dimensions of the life: length, breadth and height. He refers to the "length of life" as an individual's desire to achieve personal goals. Next, he speaks of the "breadth of life," which is characterized by reaching out and helping others. Last but not least, Dr. King describes the "height of life" or a person's spiritual pursuit and connection with God. Dr. King asserts that in order to live a complete life, all three dimensions must be cultivated.

MLK's GRE Scores

Thursday, February 1, 1951
New Jersey (NJ)

This report contains MLK's graduate record examination scores.

Crozer Theological Seminary Brochure

Chester, PA, Pennsylvania (PA)

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

Photograph of MLK Receiving Honorary Degree

Monday, June 1, 1959
Boston, MA, Massachusetts (MA)

This photograph shows Dr. King receiving an honorary degree from Boston University.

Letter from MLK Regarding Atlanta University Center

Atlanta, GA

Dr. King writes to a woman concerning what he calls "the best Negro colleges in the South." He discusses the Atlanta University Center, which consists of Spelman College, Morehouse College, Clark University and Morris Brown College.

Plato Psychology

Dr. King explores Plato's contribution to psychology.

Book Fair at Hofstra University

Monday, March 13, 1967
New York (NY), Georgia (GA), Atlanta, GA

Mrs. Wilbur Scott requests that Dr. King donate an autographed book, picture or any memento for the Hofstra University Book Fair to raise funds in support of the new university library.

SCLC's Interest in the Chicago Education System

Chicago, IL, Birmingham, AL, Illinois (IL), Alabama (AL), UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

The Southern Christian Leadership Conference initiates improvement for Chicago's education system by making recommendations. It is believed that the inadequacies of education are not only a southern issue, but a national occurrence.

Syllabus In Christian Education

This syllabus outlines the various elements of a course entitled "Christian Education" from Dr. King's experience at Crozer Theological Seminary.

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."

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.

Old Testament History Notes

ISRAEL, EGYPT

Dr. King records notes from the Old Testament of the Bible. Much of the focus is on Isaiah and the downfall of Jerusalem.

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.

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.

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."

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.

MLK's Examination Book for Bible Course

Tuesday, December 3, 1946
EGYPT, GREECE

Dr. King writes six short essays for an examination in his Bible course.