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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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Commencement Ceremony at Boston University

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

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."

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.

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.

Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech Draft

Thursday, December 10, 1964
Philadelphia, MS, Montgomery, AL, Oslo, Norway, Mississippi (MS), UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Alabama (AL)

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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."

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.

Strength to Love

Sunday, August 11, 1963
New York, NY, New York (NY), London, England, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

This is Dr. King's official transcript from Morehouse College for 1944-1948

Tuesday, November 7, 1950
Atlanta, GA, Georgia (GA)

This is Dr. King's official transcript from Morehouse College from 1944-1948.

MLK - Notes on Ranke

Dr. King discusses history and the power of man having " made voyages, extended commerce, founded cities, and established great universities."

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.

Draft Speech for Atlanta Nobel Peace Prize Reception

Georgia (GA), Atlanta, GA, Chicago, IL, Illinois (IL), California (CA), Los Angeles, CA, Los Angeles, CA

Dr. King drafts a speech that he will make in Atlanta for the reception honoring his Nobel Peace Prize winning. In the speech he offers his gratitude to friends and family who supported him in his efforts. Dr. King also briefly discusses the issue of racial injustice and the continued fight for equality.

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 Transcript from Crozer Theological Seminary

Wednesday, December 6, 1950
Pennsylvania (PA)

In 1948, Dr. King entered Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania. Engaging in a sincere quest for knowledge, he sought stimulation in the works of several prominent areas, like philosophy and theology. As a result of his efforts and achievements at Crozer, Dr. King was chosen as the Valedictorian of the graduating class of 1951.

Letter from Bronx High School Student Paul Kylar to MLK

Wednesday, May 31, 1967
New York (NY)

Paul Kylar, a student from the Bronx, writes Dr. King to convey support for his plea for peace. Kylar mentions that he attended a peace parade and how elated he is to know that Dr. King works for all people and not just Negroes.

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.

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.

God

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

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.

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.