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Fragment of Application to Boston University

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Author: King, Martin Luther, Jr.

Date: September 1, 1950 to December 31, 1950 ?

Location: Chester, Pa. ?

Genre: Essay

Topic: Martin Luther King, Jr. - Education


This statement explains King’s interest in pursuing graduate work in systematic theology. Crozer professor Raymond J. Bean, a graduate of Boston University, recommended that King study with Edgar S. Brightman at Boston. King had used Brightman’s book A Philosophy of Religion in a number of classes with George W. Davis. In this fragment, which was copied by S. Paul Schilling, a professor of systematic theology at Boston University, King reveals that he plans a teaching career. He was admitted to Boston University on 11 January 1951.

For a number of years I have been desirous of teaching in a college or a school of religion. Realizing the necessity for scholastic attainment in the teaching profession, I feel that graduate work would give me a better grasp of my field. At present I have a general knowledge of my field, but I have not done the adequate research to met the scholarly issues with which I will be confronted in thie area. It is my candid opinion that the teaching of theology should be as scientific, as thorough, and as realistic as any other discipline. In a word, scholarship is my goal. For this reason I am desirous of doing graduate work. I feel that a few years of intensified study in a graduate school will give me a thorough grasp of knowledge in my field.

My particular interest in Boston University can be summed up in two statements. First my thinking in philosophical areas has been greatly influenced by some of the faculty members there, particularly Dr. Brightman. For this reason I have longed for the possibility of studying under him. Secondly, one of my present professors is a graduate of Boston University, and his great influence over me has turned my eyes toward his former school. From him I have gotten some valuable information about Boston University, and I have been convinced that there are definite advantages there for me.

Source: SPS, INP, S. Paul Schilling Collection, In Private Hands (CSKV87-A16)

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