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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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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.

SCLC's Interest in the Chicago Education System

Chicago, IL, Birmingham, AL, Illinois (IL), Alabama (AL), UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

The Southern Christian Leadership Conference initiates improvement for Chicago's education system by making recommendations. It is believed that the inadequacies of education are not only a southern issue, but a national occurrence.

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."

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.

Bibliography Compiled by MLK

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

This handwritten bibliography documents texts that discuss theology.

Letter from Massachusetts Mental Health Center to MLK

Tuesday, January 16, 1962
Boston, MA

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."

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.

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.

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.

Plato Psychology

Dr. King explores Plato's contribution to psychology.

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.

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.

"Where Do We Go From Here?" Asks Negro King

Thursday, February 1, 1968
Atlanta, GA, Chicago, IL

In this article, Palmer Van Gundy reviews Dr. King's most recent book, "Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?." He calls the book a must for all Americans, naming Dr. King not just the greatest civil rights leaders, but also a "leader for peace with freedom and justice."

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.

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.

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.

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.

The Great Empire During the Sojourn In Egypt

EGYPT, SYRIA, PALESTINIAN TERRITORY, OCCUPIED

Dr. King contemplates the history of Egypt, noting that little is known about the time the Israelites spent there. At some point "Asiatic peoples," the Hyksos, invade Egypt and built a powerful empire known as the area of Syria and Palestine. Using horse and chariot technology the Hyksos conquered the land. Eventually, native rulers of Thebes in upper Egypt drove out the Hyksos.

MLK in his Study

Atlanta, GA

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

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.

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.

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.

Letter from MLK Regarding Atlanta University Center

Atlanta, GA

Dr. King writes to a woman concerning what he calls "the best Negro colleges in the South." He discusses the Atlanta University Center, which consists of Spelman College, Morehouse College, Clark University and Morris Brown College.

Mars Lecture Series

Tuesday, April 15, 1958
Illinois (IL), Montgomery, AL

This 1958 program features Dr. King as guest lecturer for the Mars Lectures at Northwestern University.

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.

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.

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.

Non-Violent Procedures to Inter-Racial Harmony

Tuesday, October 16, 1956
New York (NY)

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.

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.