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Martin Luther King, Jr. - Travels

Draft of Chapter XIV, "The Mastery of Fear or Antidotes for Fear"

King first developed a sermon on the subject of fear during the early years that King assisted his father at Ebenezer.1 In this sermon, developed from one that he preached at Dexter in 1957, he draws on the work of Riverside Church ministers Harry Emerson Fosdick and Robert McCracken, and theologians Paul Tillich and Joshua Liebman, to offer ways to conquer modern fears.2 King identifies fear as a major cause of war and prescribes love as

Ghana Trip

In March 1957, Martin Luther King, Jr., and his wife Coretta Scott King traveled to West Africa to attend Ghana’s independence ceremony. King’s voyage was symbolic of a growing global alliance of oppressed peoples and was strategically well timed; his attendance represented an attempt to broaden the scope of the civil rights struggle in the United States on the heels of the successful Montgomery bus boycott. King identified with Ghana’s struggle; furthermore, he recognized a strong parallel between resistance against European colonialism in Africa and the struggle against racism in the United States.

Bowles, Chester Bliss

Chester Bowles greatly influenced Martin Luther King Jr. early on in his career. As ambassador to India and a key member of the Democratic Party, Bowles was a powerful voice of support for King’s methods and message of nonviolence. Bowles and his wife were early financial supporters of the Montgomery bus boycott, and when King wrote to Dorothy Bowles in 1956 to express his appreciation for their support, he described her husband as “one of the greatest statesmen of our nation and of our age” (Papers 3:466).

Draft of Chapter III, "On Being a Good Neighbor"

Expanding on a 28 November 1960 outline titled “The Goodness of the Good Samaritan,” this sermon draft hews closely to George Buttrick’s themes in his lecture on the Good Samaritan.1 King lauds the Samaritan's altruism, which enabled him to look beyond “accidents of race, religion and nationality” and applies the parable’s message to race relations, acknowledging that laws “may not change the heart, but they can restrain the heartless.” To effect true change, King submits, “Something must happen so to tou

"Notes for Conversation between King and Nehru"

King’s late arrival in New Delhi caused him to miss his meeting with Prime Minister Nehru on 9 February, but King soon learned that Nehru had agreed to reschedule for the following evening.1 Coretta King later recalled that her husband and the Indian leader discussed nonviolence and compared the struggles in India and the United States for four hours.2

"The Three Dimensions of a Complete Life," Sermon Delivered at the Unitarian Church of Germantown

In this sermon, versions of which King had preached as early as 1954, King laments that “too many of our white brothers are concerned merely about the length of life rather than the breadth of life.”1 He suggests that with reordered priorities “the jangling discords of the South would be transformed into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.” King’s theme and content reflect the influence of abolitionist minister Phillips Brooks’s sermon “The Symmetry of Life.”

Address at the Thirty-sixth Annual Dinner of the War Resisters League

In this typed draft, King embellishes some of his standard remarks on nonviolence with a call for an end to war and an affirmation of the link between social justice at home and peace abroad: “No sane person can afford to work for social justice within the nation unless he simultaneously resists war and clearly declares himself for non-violence in international, relations.” He concludes with the hope that, through adherence to nonviolence, “the colored peoples” would so “challenge the nations of the world that they will seriously seek an alternative to war and destructio


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