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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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Plato Psychology

Dr. King explores Plato's contribution to psychology.

Foreword of "The Power of Nonviolence"

Thursday, January 1, 1959
New York (NY), DENMARK, NORWAY, FRANCE, NETHERLANDS, GERMANY, SOUTH AFRICA, GHANA, Montgomery, AL, INDIA

This is a copy of a foreword written by Dr. King to Richard Gregg's "The Power of Nonviolence."

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.

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.

Promotional Article for Why We Can't Wait

Birmingham, AL

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'."

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.

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.

Morehouse Introduction to Philosophy Notes

FRANCE, Atlanta, GA

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.

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.

The Dilemma of White America

Massachusetts (MA), GERMANY, Selma, AL, Birmingham, AL, Alabama (AL), Mississippi (MS), California (CA), Illinois (IL), VIETNAM, Chicago, IL

This early draft of the Racism and the White Backlash chapter of Dr. King's Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? explores the history and philosophy of white supremacy. King insists the current status of Negroes is the direct result of oppression by whites, who have developed delusional beliefs to justify their historic acts of colonization and slavery.

Exam for Bible 252 at Morehouse

Atlanta, GA

This is an exam for Dr. King's Bible course, which lasted from September 1946 to May 1947, at Morehouse College. Dr. George D. Kelsey was the professor. Dr. King's notes are in the margins.

The Negro is the Most Glaring Evidence of White American's Hypocrisy

Dr. King shares the desire and need of American Negroes to have a social revolution for equality.

JFK's Executive Order In Housing

Thursday, December 13, 1962

This document is a draft of an article, written by Dr. King, to be placed in the Amsterdam Newspaper. Dr. King breaks down the housing order signed into law by President Kennedy. He makes clear that housing discrimination is a large hurdle to ending segregation.

How Do You View the Progress in School Desegregation?

New York, NY, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Lowndes County, AL, Philadelphia, MS

In this special for the New York Times, Dr. King shares his opinion on the progress made in desegregating schools.

Oberlin College Commencement

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Washington, D.C., PUERTO RICO, VIETNAM, INDIA, Alabama (AL), Mississippi (MS), New Hampshire (NH)

This issue of the Oberlin Alumni Magazine features commencement articles and photos as well as Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution, Dr. King’s address to the graduating class.

MLK's Graduation Picture From Boston University

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

This photograph captures Dr. King in his graduation gown from Boston University.

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 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.

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.

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.

Class Notes: Joshua

This eleven card series features Biblical verses from the Book of Joshua which Dr. King references under specific subject titles. The section titles range from "Knowledge" to "Passages for Homiletical Use."

SCLC Newsletter: July 1963

Alabama (AL), Birmingham, AL, SOUTH AFRICA, Johannesburg, South Africa, New York (NY), Michigan (MI), Chicago, IL, Illinois (IL), Washington, D.C., Nashville, TN, Tennessee (TN), Georgia (GA), North Carolina (NC), Virginia (VA), Atlanta, GA

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 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.

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."

The Danger of Misguided Goodness

Under the title, "The Danger of Misguided Goodness," the central message in these sermon notes is the need for all individuals to be morally conscientious.

Error

This set of note cards written by Dr. King explores the causation of error. King quotes Alfred North Whitehead's "The Concept of Nature" noting several reasons as to the rise of error.

MLK in his Study

Atlanta, GA

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

Religion

Dr. King quotes Borden Parker Bowne. The first name Gordon on the note card is incorrect.

Syllabus in Preaching and Worship

This syllabus for the course "Preaching and Worship" details the topics to be covered during the course. The following key topics are included: The Preaching Ministry of the Church, The Preparation of the Sermon, and Worship.

The Martin Luther King Column

GERMANY

Dr. King addresses his concerns about the rise of anti-Semitism in Germany.