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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's Graduation Picture From Boston University

Monday, June 1, 1959

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

Strength to Love

Sunday, August 11, 1963

This is the printer?s proof of Strength to Love, Dr. King?s book of sermons that was published in 1963. He drafted three of the sermons while serving a fifteen-day jail term in Albany, Georgia. Although his editors lauded the first draft, they later deleted strong phrases about segregation, colonialism and capitalism and many of his statements against war. The collection includes some of Dr. King's most popular sermons, including: Loving Your Enemies, Paul?s Letter to American Christians, A Knock at Midnight, A Tough Mind and a Tender Heart, and Three Dimensions of a Complete Life.

MLK's GRE Scores

Thursday, February 1, 1951

This report contains MLK's graduate record examination scores.

SCLC Press Release

Monday, May 16, 1966

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.

Morehouse Board of Trustees Meeting

Tuesday, March 28, 1967

The Secretary of Morehouse College Board of Trustees, J. H. Wheeler, inquires if Dr. King will be in attendance for the annual meeting.

Letter from Sankey Blanton to MLK

Wednesday, October 3, 1951

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.

MLK Norway Radio Interview

Monday, November 9, 1964

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.

The Pastor and His Reference Library

Here is "The Pastor and His Reference Library" by Edward C. Starr. Starr served as librarian at Bucknell. Dr. King more than likely used this resource to conduct research and organize citations while attending Crozer Theological Seminary in Upland, PA.

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.

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.

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.

Letter from Massachusetts Mental Health Center to MLK

Tuesday, January 16, 1962

Drs. Myron Sharaf and Milton Greenblatt invite Dr. King to speak at the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' Department of Mental Health where the staff and researchers share an interest in ending "hate in social life."

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.

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.

Why We Chose Jail Rather than Bail

Dr. King cites seven reasons for choosing jail not bail. Among them is that ?the highest expression of nonviolence is self suffering.?

Seminar in Social Philosophy Notes

Dr. King records notes for his Seminar in Social Philosophy course. These notes consist of readings by and related to ancient Greek philosophers Plato and Aristotle.

Notes about Books

Dr. King opposes the existence of books that degrade the Negro image and falsely contribute to a "national brainwashing." He cites quotations from novelist John Steinbeck, which discourse on the "sacred" nature of a book.

God

Dr. King cites the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy regarding the topic of monotheism.

Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech Draft

Thursday, December 10, 1964

In 1964, Dr. King became the first African-American to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. At age 35, he was also the youngest recipient of the award to date. Emphasizing a philosophy of nonviolence, Dr. King writes this acceptance speech commemorating the courageous work of the Civil Rights Movement. He highlights the brutality faced throughout the United States and addresses the irony of accepting a peace prize on behalf of a movement that has yet to obtain peace.

Letter from Helen White to MLK

Monday, July 31, 1967

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

Commencement Ceremony at Boston University

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

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.

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.

Photograph of MLK Receiving Honorary Degree

Monday, June 1, 1959

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

Syllabus for the History of Christianity

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

Out of Segregation's Long Night

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.

Press Conference on Chicago Movement

Wednesday, July 7, 1965

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.

The Philosophy of Life Undergirding Christianity and The Christian Ministry

In this essay fragment from his Crozer Seminary days, Dr. King writes that Christianity is a value philosophy whose values are embodied in the life of Christ. He begins to spell out what those values are. The first, King states, is the value of the world as something positive and life-affirming, in contrast to the negative view of the world of the ascetics and religions of India. The second value is that of persons, who have supreme worth. People must be used as ends, never as means to ends, although there have been periods in history where Christianity has fallen short.

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.

Letter from David Cole Gordon to MLK

Wednesday, October 11, 1967

David Cole Gordon, Consulting Editor for American Humanist Association, requests that Dr. King provide an essay for their upcoming feature, "This is How I Live."