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Crozer Theological Seminary Field Work Department: Rating Sheet for Martin Luther King, Jr., by William E. Gardner

Gardner, William E. (First Baptist Church)
September 1, 1950 to December 1, 1950
Martin Luther King, Jr. - Career in Ministry
Martin Luther King, Jr. - Education


William E. Gardner, the presumed author of this evaluation, was a friend of the King family and pastor of First Baptist Church in East Elmhurst, Queens, New York. Although Gardner rated King “above average” in pulpit ability, he noted major weaknesses: “An attitude of aloofness, disdain & possible snobbishness which prevent his coming to close grips with the rank and file of ordinary people.”

It is the purpose of our field work program to aid the student in his development as a religious leader. We shall appreciate it if you will mark the following as objectively as possible. For our convenience, please use the following symbols:

a—Superior; b—Above average; c—Average; d—Below average; e—Inferior

NAME OF STUDENT    Martin King1

I. Personal Qualities a b c d e
Dependability   x      
Promptness   x      
Initiative   x      
Judgment x        
Decisiveness x        
Neatness x        
Courtesy   x      
Poise x        
Self-confidence x        
Willingness to learn   x      
II. Social Qualities a b c d e
Friendliness   x      
Sense of humor   x      
Cooperation     x    
Sympathetic understanding   x      
III. Pulpit Ability a b c d e
General impression   x      
Enunciation   x      
Sentence structure   x      
Content   x      
Organization   x      
Use of voice   x      
Effective of delivery   x      
Effectiveness of public reading   x      
Ability to lead worship   x      
IV. Group Work a b c d e
Leadership   x      
Ability to plan programs   x      
Ability to carry through programs   x      
Ability to organize group activities   x      
Ability to secure group participation     x    
Preparation for appointments     x    
Understanding of group work techniques     x    
Concern for individuals in group     x    
Willingness to accept suggestions and criticism     x    
Ability to evaluate programs   x      
V. Teaching Ability a b c d e
Thoroughness of preparation     x    
Understanding of pupils     x    
Ability to maintain order   x      
Originality and variety of methods     x    
Effectiveness in achieving goals     x    
Persistence in follow-up     x    

I feel that this student’s strongest points are superior mental ability, clarity of expression, impressive personality, thoroughness in preparation for academic tasks.

I feel that the chief weaknesses which the seminary might help him overcome are An attitude of aloofness, disdain & possible snobbishness which prevent his coming to close grips with the rank and file of ordinary people.

Also, a smugness that refuses to adapt itself to the demands of ministering effectively to the average Negro congregation.

1. An unknown reviewer, perhaps a member of Crozer’s field work department, wrote in the margin: “Doing preaching about 2 times each week. Grad. work at U.P. No field work. Middle—Single.—Junior.”


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