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Application for Admission to Crozer Theological Seminary

King, Martin Luther, Jr.
February 1, 1948 to February 29, 1948
Martin Luther King, Jr. - Education


Shortly after his nineteenth birthday, King applied for admission to Crozer Theological Seminary. His application indicates the date of his joining the church (1 May 1936), the date of his early decision to enter the ministry (summer of 1944), and his various student activities at Morehouse College. As character references King lists George D. Kelsey, Morehouse professor of religion; Lucius M. Tobin, chaplain at Morehouse; Benjamin E. Mays, Morehouse president; John Burney and Phoebe Burney, members of Ebenezer Baptist Church; and his father.

To the Faculty of
Crozer Theological Seminary,
Chester, Pa.


Having filled out to the best of my ability the questionnaire that you forwarded me at my own request, I hereby make application for admission to Crozer Theological Seminary for the academic year beginning   Sept. 1948.

Signature   [signed] M. L. King Jr.

Date of application

Accompanying this application there should be:

  1. A small unmounted photograph.
  2. Transcript of complete college and graduate work.
  3. A medical certificate of health.
  4. A license to preach from the local home church, or a recommendation to study for the ministry from the home church or a copy of the certificate of ordination.

Some of the questions below are of a peculiarly personal nature, but frank answers are solicited so that the student may be the more intelligently guided. Naturally, answers to such questions are regarded as strictly confidential.

I.    Personal and family history of the applicant:
Name in full   Martin Luther King Jr
Permanent address   193 Boulevard N. E.
Present address   Same
Place of birth   Atlanta, Ga.   date   1–15–29   Race   Negro
   Nationality   American
Father’s name M. L. King Sr.
   Race   Negro   Nationality   American
   Education   Graduate of Morehouse   Occupation   Minister
   Religious interests and activities   Pastor
Mother’s maiden name   Alberta Williams
   Race   Negro   Nationality   American
   Education   Graduate of Spelman College
   Religious interests   Minister of Music in Church
Are you married?   No      If so, give wife’s maiden name
   Wife’s education
   Wife’s business experience      Teaching
   General state of health
   Children, if any, Names      Ages

II.   General physical condition of the applicant:
height   5'7"   weight   150
Have you ever had a prolonged sickness?   No    give details
Has nervous condition ever interfered with your business or with studies?   No
If so give details
Have you any physical disabilities that might interfere with an effective ministry?   No
If so give details
Give latest dates of inoculation for various preventable diseases

III.   Religious activities and interests of the applicant:
Date when you joined the church   May 1st 1936
Place   Atlanta, Ga.   Denomination   Baptist
Membership in other churches
Present church membership   Ebenezer Baptist
Specify activities in various religious organizations
Offices held in such organizations
Are you licensed or ordained?   Yes, I am licensed
Give your personal reasons for the decision to study for the Gospel Ministry   My call to the ministry was quite different from most explinations Ive heard. This dicision came about in the summer of 1944 when I felt an inescapable urge to serve society. In short, I felt a sense of responsibility which I could not escape.

IV.   Educational attainments of the applicant:
High school attended   Booker Washington High
Year of entrance   1942   Date of graduation   1944
College or University: year of entrance   1944       degrees      year
Theological Seminaries: year of entrance
Explanation of failures in any courses in any of the above
Indicate college honors
Studies majored in during college or university work    Sociology
Special intellectual interests
Extra-curricular activities in college in which you were interested
Member of Glee Club—Student council—minister’s union—basketball and track teams—debating team—President of sociology club.

The transcript will be [strikeout illegible] sent by the school.

V.   Practical experience of the applicant:
What business experiences have you had?   None
What teaching experience?   None
What experience in preaching or in other types of religious leadership    I have served as assistant to my father for six months
Indicate the type of religious work to which at the present time you are most attracted

VI.   Financial considerations:
Did you personally finance your way through college?   No
Have you any financial obligation other than those of the current, personal type? If so indicate    No
Can you finance yourself in whole or in part during your Seminary studies?   In part {whole}
If not, can you arrange for aid from private sources?
Estimate the possibilities and if necessary indicate your financial needs as nearly as possible

VII.   As personal character references, please fill out the name and address of:
name         address
1. A professor of your college    Dr. George Kelsey—Morehouse College
2. Your pastor, or pastors   Rev. L. M. Tobin— " " "
3. Secretary of your State Mission Board   Pres. B. E. Mays " " " {Dr. Benjamin Mays Morehouse College, Atlanta, Ga.}
4. Dr. John Burney 434 Houston St. N.E. Atlanta, Ga.
5. Dean Phoeby Burney Clark College Atlanta, Ga.
6. Rev. M. L. King Sr. 193 Boulevard N.E. Atlanta, Ga.1

The Faculty of Crozer Theological Seminary will meet to consider applicants for admission and for student-aid for the following academic year. Applications will be taken up in the order in which they are received. We desire seven references with whom we may correspond. You will give the names of a professor of your college, your pastor, and five others. We suggest the president of your college, lay leaders in your church, or others who know of you and your work well enough to give a satisfactory appraisal of your character and ability.

1. All six names were marked with a check by an unknown person.


CRO, NRCR, Crozer Theological Seminary Records, Colgate-Rochester Divinity School, Rochester, N.Y.