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From R. D. Crockett

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Author: Crockett, R. D. (Roosevelt David) (Alabama State College for Negroes)

Date: February 8, 1954

Location: Montgomery, Ala.

Genre: Letter

Topic: Martin Luther King, Jr. - Career in Ministry


On 17 January 1954, King preached “The Three Dimensions of a Complete Life” at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church. Crockett, a friend of King’s from Boston, was the chaplain at Alabama State College and a deacon of Dexter.1

The Rev. M. L. King, Jr.
396 Northampton Street
Apartment 5
Boston, Massachusetts

Dear Brother King:

We received your kind letter the other day. Mrs. Crockett and I enjoyed reading it very much. Especially did we enjoy the part where you mentioned that the fellowship that you had with us was “ontologically real.” (smile)

Although I had really meant to write you earlier, an abundance of work prevented my doing so until today. I hope you will forgive my tardiness.

Thank you very much for serving as guest minister. In my estimation your sermon was great. A number of students liked your message so much that they have asked me to invite you back before the school year ends. If our budget could accommodate the invitation, I would certainly extend it to you.

The members of Dexter are still praising your name. Who knows but that you may come to us permanently in the future?

Mrs. Crockett joins me in saying that the fellowship we had with you enriched both of our lives. We hope you will come to see us again. Best of luck in the writing of the dissertation, and please give our regards to our friends in Boston.

Very cordially yours,
R. D. Crockett,
Chaplain and Professor of Philosophy


1. Roosevelt David Crockett (1917–1968) received his B.A. from Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Arkansas, his B.D. from Drew University in Madison, New Jersey, and his Ph.D. from Boston University. He served as assistant chaplain at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, chaplain of Bennett College in Greensboro, North Carolina, and as chaplain and professor of philosophy at Alabama State College. He also was administrative assistant to the president of Alabama State, H. Councill Trenholm, for eleven years before being named president of Philander Smith College. He later left that position to work in the federal government for the Agency for International Development. Crockett was completing his work for the Ph.D. at Boston when King was beginning his graduate work, and they met and became friends. Crockett also served as president of the Alabama Council on Human Relations during the Montgomery bus boycott and thereafter. See Effie B. Crockett to King Papers Project, 25 May 1990.

Source: MLKP, MBU, Martin Luther King, Jr., Papers, 1954-1968, Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center, Boston University, Boston, Mass.

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