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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.
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.
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.
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.
In this early speech to a NY Universalists' convention, Dr. King lays out his nonviolence method, based on Gandhi's. He outlines five of the six principles he will use later. They are: active, courageous resistance; winning the moral conversion of the opponent, not defeating him; attacking the forces of evil, rather than the persons doing evil; using love to avoid "internal violence of the spirit"; and faith in the inclination of the universe towards justice.
This is Dr. King's official transcript from Morehouse College from 1944-1948.
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.
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.
In this New York Herald Tribune article, Dr. King refers to the recent 1964 Presidential election as a decisive repudiation of segregation and extremism. He claims the election results honored the memory of President John F. Kennedy, assassinated a year earlier. Kennedy’s greatest contribution to human rights, King says, was his televised appeal to the American people on June 19, 1963 describing equal rights and equal opportunity as a moral issue as old as the scriptures and as clear as the Constitution.
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."
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.
Dr. King references Peter Abelard, medieval French philosopher and theologian. He discerns that universals cannot be things or words. Rather, the universal is a concept. King maintains that this quandary is relevant to "Schoolmen" and particularly the dogma of the Church. He continues by also noting philosopher Rene Descartes, and that "he was at fault in overemphasizing mathematical method."