After postponing the examination in German until 10 October 1952, King failed it on the first attempt. Chester M. Alter granted King’s petition to continue his coursework “subject to passing German examination in February.” King passed the examination on 18 February.
I am a graduate student in the field of Systematic Theology working toward the PhD degree. At present I have completed thirty seven hours toward the degree, and passed the French examinination. I plan to take the German examination on February 18, 1953. I have had the examination once, but unfortunately I did not pass it. Now, however, I feel that I can pass it with little difficulty. For more than two years now I have been a very close student of German.
In the light of the above facts I petition the faculty for permission to take eleven hours this semester. It so happens that most of the courses which I took last semester are two semester courses, and to have to drop them at this point would be a definite loss in my doctoral studies.
[signed] Martin Luther King Jr.
MLKP, MBU, Martin Luther King, Jr., Papers, 1954-1968, Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center, Boston University, Boston, Mass.