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Martin Luther King, Jr. - Career in Ministry

To Otto R. Loverude

Loverude, the pastor of First United Baptist Church in Lowell, Massachusetts, had invited King to speak for the church’s College of Missions on 12 April. In an 18 February letter Loverude asked King to “tell us something of what it means to be a member of the minority race in the South.”1 This draft of a reply to Loverude’s letter and the following one to D. E. King were written on the same page. The final versions of both letters have not been found.

"Apathy Among Church Leaders Hit in Talk by Rev. M. L. King"

This unsigned Birmingham World article describes “A Realistic Approach to Progress in Race Relations,” which King delivered to the Birmingham NAACP on 23 January.1 In his speech King emphasized gaining the ballot as a step toward first-class citizenship, saying, “A voteless people is a powerless people.” The article also reports his efforts to enlist all Dexter church members as “voters and members of the NAACP.”

"Paul's Letter to American Christians," Sermon Delivered at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church

In this Dexter sermon King reads a fictional letter from the apostle Paul to American Christians of the mid-twentieth century. Loosely based on Paul's letter to the Romans, King's sermon notes the gap between the nation's scientific progress and its ethical and spiritual development. Deploring exploitative capitalism, spiritual arrogance, racial segregation, and self-righteous egotism, he offers the remedy of Christian love.

"Mother's Day in Montgomery," by Almena Lomax

On Sunday, 13 May, Almena Lomax, editor of the weekly black newspaper the Los Angeles Tribune, attended Dexter’s Mother’s Day service and took notes on King’s sermon.1 In this excerpt from Lomax’s account, King exhorts mothers to prepare their children for life in an integrated society instilling “a sense of dignity, of self-respect” and an “awareness that they must acquire excellence in everything they do. . ..

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