During his undergraduate years at Atlanta’s Morehouse College from 1944 to 1948, King gradually overcame his initial reluctance to accept his inherited calling. Mays influenced King’s spiritual development, encouraging him to view Christianity as a potential force for progressive social change.
During his undergraduate years at Atlanta’s Morehouse College from 1944 to 1948, King gradually overcame his initial reluctance to accept his inherited calling. Mays influenced King’s spiritual development, encouraging him to view Christianity as a potential force for progressive social change.Religion professor George Kelsey exposed him to biblical criticism and, according to King’s autobiographical sketch, taught him “that behind the legends and myths of the Book were many profound truths which one could not escape” ( ).Tags: You Are My Inspiration EssayEssay For 4th GradersHow To End A Term PaperCover Letter ReceptionistBuy Essays Online ReviewsAcknowledgements For DissertationNon-Thesis Program
Martin Luther King, Jr., made history, but he was also transformed by his deep family roots in the African-American Baptist church, his formative experiences in his hometown of Atlanta, his theological studies, his varied models of religious and political leadership, and his extensive network of contacts in the peace and social justice movements of his time.
Although King was only 39 at the time of his death, his life was remarkable for the ways it reflected and inspired so many of the twentieth century’s major intellectual, cultural, and political developments. After Reverend Williams’ death in 1931, his son-in-law became Ebenezer Baptist Church’s new pastor and gradually established himself as a major figure in state and national Baptist groups.
Initially uncritical of liberal theology, he gradually moved toward Reinhold Niebuhr’s neo-orthodoxy, which emphasized the intractability of social evil.
Mentored by local minister and King family friend J. Moreover, by the end of his seminary studies King had become increasingly dissatisfied with the abstract conceptions of God held by some modern theologians and identified himself instead with the theologians who affirmed personalism, or a belief in the personality of God.
The elder King began referring to himself (and later to his son) as Martin Luther King.
King’s formative experiences not only immersed him in the affairs of Ebenezer but also introduced him to the African-American social gospel tradition exemplified by his father and grandfather, both of whom were leaders of the Atlanta branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).In his role as the primary spokesman of the year-long Montgomery bus boycott, King utilized the leadership abilities he had gained from his religious background and academic training to forge a distinctive protest strategy that involved the mobilization of black churches and skillful appeals for white support. Supreme Court outlawed Alabama bus segregation laws in in late 1956, King sought to expand the nonviolent civil rights movement throughout the South. Rather than immediately seeking to stimulate mass desegregation protests in the South, King stressed the goal of achieving black voting rights when he addressed an audience at the 1957 Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom.With the encouragement of Bayard Rustin, Glenn Smiley, William Stuart Nelson, and other veteran pacifists, King also became a firm advocate of Mohandas Gandhi’s precepts of nonviolence, which he combined with Christian social gospel ideas. King’s rise to fame was not without personal consequences.In March 1957, King traveled to Ghana at the invitation of Kwame Nkrumah to attend the nation’s independence ceremony.Shortly after returning from Ghana, King joined the American Committee on Africa, agreeing to serve as vice chairman of an International Sponsoring Committee for a day of protest against South Africa’s apartheid government.Pius Barbour, he reacted skeptically to a presentation on pacifism by Fellowship of Reconciliation leader A. Even as he continued to question and modify his own religious beliefs, he compiled an outstanding academic record and graduated at the top of his class.In 1951, King began doctoral studies in systematic theology at Boston University’s graduate school, which was dominated by personalist theologians such as Edgar Brightman and L. The papers (including his dissertation) that King wrote during his years at Boston University displayed little originality, and some contained extensive plagiarism; but his readings enabled him to formulate an eclectic yet coherent theological perspective.King admired both educators as deeply religious yet also learned men and, by the end of his junior year, such academic role models and the example of his father led King to enter the ministry.He described his decision as a response to an “inner urge” calling him to “serve humanity” ( 3).Depression-era breadlines heightened King’s awareness of economic inequities, and his father’s leadership of campaigns against racial discrimination in voting and teachers’ salaries provided a model for the younger King’s own politically engaged ministry.He resisted religious emotionalism and as a teenager questioned some facets of Baptist doctrine, such as the bodily resurrection of Jesus.