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From William R. Strassner

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Author: Strassner, William Russell (Shaw University)

Date: November 6, 1952

Location: Raleigh, N.C.

Genre: Letter

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


Shaw University president Strassner sought someone to succeed him as dean of Shaw’s School of Religion.1 Sankey Blanton recommended King to Strassner as someone who could assume these new responsibilities and still complete his degree, but the president of Shaw sought confirmation from King.2

The Reverend M. L. King
397 Massachusetts Avenue
Boston, Massachusetts 

Dear Reverend King:

We are in search of a good man for appointment as Dean of the School of Religion at Shaw University.

I asked Dr. Sankey Blanton, President, Crozer Theological Seminary, for a suggestion and he immediately recommended you in the highest terms. Dr. Blanton and I were schoolmates at Andover-Newton.

If you are interested in the position, kindly fill out the enclosed application form and return it to me at your earliest convenience. 

I recall that I was guest minister at your father’s church in Atlanta a year or two ago on the very fine occasion of Men’s Day.

Sincerely yours,
[signed] Wm. R. Strassner
William R. Strassner

Enclosure 13

1. William Russell Strassner (1901–) is a graduate of Arkansas Baptist College, Virginia Union University, and Andover-Newton Theological School. After serving Baptist congregations in Westmoreland County, Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, and Boston, Massachusetts, he became dean of religion at Bishop College in Marshall, Texas. He then was appointed dean of the School of Religion at Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina; in 1951, Strassner became president of that Baptist college. See Strassner to King Papers Project, 28 December 1991; and Strassner, “My Ministerial Career in Retrospect,” in Voices of Experience, ed. Michael A. Battle (New York: Martin Luther King Fellows Press, 1985), pp. 24–42. 

2. See also Strassner to King, 2 January 1953, MLKP-MBU: Box 117 . King’s response, if any, has not been located.

3. A blank application was enclosed with this letter (see “Faculty Application, Shaw University,” 6 November 1952, CSKC). 

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

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