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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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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."

Instructions for Honorary Degree Recipients

This document reflects instructions for Dr. King as the recipient of an honorary degree from Yale University. The program also includes some random handwritten notes by Dr. King and information regarding his seating arrangement.

Morehouse Board of Trustees Meeting

Tuesday, March 28, 1967
Atlanta, GA

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

Negro Church Finest Hope for Christianity

Thursday, January 18, 1962
London, England, Pittsburgh, PA

Ruth Haefner forwards a publication from The Pittsburgh Courier which states, "the newly militant Negro theologians in America, may perform the miracle of raising the dead (Western Christendom) to life." She further expresses her hopes that Dr. King may do the work of reviving the Christian spirit with a weekly letter featured in London press.

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.

Bibliography Compiled by MLK

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

This handwritten bibliography documents texts that discuss theology.

MLK Manuscript: Why We Can't Wait

This document reflects one page of the original manuscript of "Why We Can't Wait." "Why We Can't Wait" is a book by Martin Luther King, Jr. about the civil rights struggle against racial segregation in the United States, and specifically in Birmingham, Alabama.

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.

Thoughts on Nobel Prize

Birmingham, AL, New York (NY), California (CA), Florida (FL), Philadelphia, PA, Mississippi (MS), Alabama (AL)

This draft of Dr. King's Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech lends recognition to the nonviolent practices of those engaged in the fight for equality and civil rights.

Letter from David Cole Gordon to MLK

Wednesday, October 11, 1967
New York, NY, Atlanta, GA

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."

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.

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.

How My Theology Has Changed

Dr. King highlights seven main ways in which his theological views have changed since his final year at Crozer Theological Seminary.

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.

God

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

MLK - Notes on Ranke

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

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.

Essay Outline by John Mates on Helmut Richard Niebuhr

Friday, April 20, 1951
New York (NY)

John Mates contests the influence of Helmut Richard Niebuhr written contributions to the church through his congruent philosophy with Jesus Christ's message. Mr. Mates further discusses the churches relations to the societal influences of politics and economics.

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.

Dr. King's Schedule October 1967

San Francisco, CA, Los Angeles, CA, Texas (TX), Chicago, IL, Cleveland, OH, Washington, D.C., New Jersey (NJ), Philadelphia, PA, Boston, MA, Iowa (IA)

This schedule lists Dr. King's travel itinerary and speaking engagements, October 1967.

Request from Wm. James Stuart to MLK

Monday, June 14, 1965
Kentucky (KY), Alabama (AL), Montgomery, AL

Wm. James Stuart, a student, seeks the recommendation of books that helped Dr. King develop his own way of preaching.

Racism in the United States

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Alabama (AL), Birmingham, AL, Mississippi (MS), New York (NY), Detroit, MI, Michigan (MI), Atlanta, GA, Georgia (GA), North Carolina (NC), Albany, GA

Dr. King discusses the issues of racism, Jim Crow and nonviolence in this edition of Current. He further explains that, without the tactic of nonviolence, Negroes can become hostile and bitter. Throughout this issue several other writers are featured including Leslie W. Dunbar, Langston Hughes and Fay Bennett.

May 17 -- 11 Years Later

Saturday, May 22, 1965
New York (NY)

Dr. King discusses the eleven years since the Supreme Court ruled that segregated schools were not constitutional in Brown v. Board of Education. He explains that it was not until the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that people began to understand the harms of segregation.

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.

Invitation from Manitoba New Democratic Party

Thursday, August 19, 1965
CANADA

B. Swailes, Provincial Secretary of the Manitoba New Democratic Party, extends a speaking invitation to Dr. King to discuss human rights.

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.

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.

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.

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.