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Advice for Living

From September 1957 to December 1958 Dr. King wrote “Advice for Living,” a monthly column for Ebony magazine. At the time, Ebony was led by fellow Morehouse alumnus, Lerone Bennett, who invited Dr. King to do the column. Dr. King answered questions for readers all over the country. He responded to a wide array of religious and ethical concerns, weighing in on theodicy, interracial dating, birth control, sexuality, atomic weapons and more. When Ebony’s sister magazine Jet sought to publicize the column, it did so writing “Let the man who led the Montgomery protest lead you to a happier Life.” Dr. King’s contributions came to an end when recovery from the stabbing in 1958 required that he reduce his activities.

Associated Archive Content : 59 results

Letter from Viola Burrell to MLK

Mrs. Burrell writes to Dr. King, expressing her concern for black people in the work environment.

Letter from W. J. Murphy to Deton Brooks

Congressman W. J. Murphy writes this letter to Dr. Deton Brooks, Executive Director of the Commission on Urban Opportunity. After listening to a radio show, of which Dr. Brooks and Dr. King posed commentary, Murphy was prompted with a response towards solving America's racial issues. Murphy states he initially opposed the executively ordered Fair Employment Practices Commission for the reason that brotherly love could not be legislated. FEPC requires that companies in governmental contract could not discriminate on the basis of race or religion.

Letter from Wilbert McDonald to MLK regarding Scholarship Assistance

Wilber McDonald requests advice about the development of his educational career from Dr. King.

Letter from William G. Broaddus to MLK

The Editor of the Dicta column from The Virginia Law Weekly writes Dr. King to request a contribution to their "Law for the Poor" series. Mr. Broaddus states that an ideal article will discuss landlord tenant problems and offer solutions. He tells Dr. King that his work in Chicago "on the landlord tenant problem...[makes you] well qualified to write on this subject."

Letter to Coretta Scott King from Fern McQuesten at the United Nations Assn of Hawaii

Ms. McQuesten extends condolences to Mrs. King and recalls fond memories of a meeting with Dr. King. She writes, "I met Mr. King many years ago...he will always be beckoning us on to greater achievements for mankind."

Letter to MLK from G. Houghton

Mr. Houghton writes to Dr. King with a plan for SABON (Saving and Building Organization of, by, and for the Negroes).

Letter to MLK Regarding the Direction of the Movement

The author expresses her opinion about Dr. King and how he should use his "impressive" vocabulary in the right direction. She further elaborates on her perceptions of the police protection, mobs, labor needs, and more.

Letter to Senator Abraham Ribicoff from Earl Whitted Jr.

In this reply to Sen. Ribicoff, Earl Whitted endorses the idea of a guaranteed fixed annual income for the poor, under certain stipulations. It is proposed that a Federal Housing Project area would also provide various economic services to the underprivileged. This program would accomplish education and self-sustainability for those that have been politically and economically disadvantaged.

Memorandum to MLK about Black Power and the Marks of Slavery

This memorandum to Dr. King addresses the significance of black power and the marks of slavery. It also references excerpts from "The Peculiar Institution" by Kenneth Stampp.

MLK Note

Dr. King writes a story about a father and son waiting for a train at New York's Grand Central Station. The son is headed to college in New England and the father gives the young man some simple, yet profound advice. "Bill, never forget who you are."

MLK's Gadsden, Alabama Rally Speech

This transcript of Dr. King's address during the Gadsden, Alabama Rally addresses the ills of segregation in the South. He professes that the accusation of civil rights demonstrations being responsible for creating tension is equivalent to blaming the act of robbery on the wealth of man.

Neighborhood Stabilization: A Program

The Southern Regional Council issues a special report regarding neighborhood stabilization. The report investigates minority housing in majority white communities. The report states that realtors victimize Negro residents and lead white residents to believe that Negroes cause property decline. The report also features a step-by-step self-help plan for a more organized, unified and stabilized community.

New Wine in New Bottles

Dr. King outlines a sermon he preached at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery on October 17, 1954. His text is Matthew 9:17. He compares new ideas to new wine, stating that an idea cannot progress if people are not ready to accept it; this is what it means for an idea to be before its time. New ideas require new structures to contain them. The same is true in our personal lives when we resolve to rid ourselves of bad habits.

Open Letter from MLK to Negro Youth

In the wake of the urban uprisings of 1966, Dr. King writes an open letter to Negro youth empathizing with their desire to return to school and to find jobs. He mentions that he's written the President urging funding so all poor children can attend school and advocating implementation of a public works program to provide jobs for youth. He encourages young people to abstain from violence as ineffective in achieving their goals.

Our God is Able

Reverend Frederick M. Meek retells a story in the New Testament about a civilization and their journey to discover that God is able.

Outline for The Secret of Adjustment

In this sermon, Dr. King notes applicable methods used to deal with the tensions in life. It is said that "the secret to adjustment is to find contentment." King further references the experience of the Apostle Paul and what he learned in confronting this problem.

SCLC Pamphlet- Why?

This brochure highlights the various forms of discrimination African Americans faced in Alabama, primarily the legal right to vote. Housing, unemployment, and police brutality are other key topics discussed. There is also a call to action on solutions for these problems.

Secrets of a Happy Marriage

Dr. King expounds upon the secrets of a happy marriage. His first point is that the husband and wife must comprehend the nature of sexes. He describes the dichotomy of a man and woman's perception of contentment. The second point Dr. King makes is that the married couple must have an understanding of the nature of marriage itself. He further asserts that a successful marriage must be built on a mutual compromise. The final contention by Dr. King is each individual must instill the sacredness of marriage.

Social Ethics

Dr. King refers to Micah 3:9-12, saying the prophet condemns the love of money of civil and religious leaders. King wonders whether religious leaders today should be paid for their work and concludes that money should never be a priority over service.

Special Message to the Members of Congress

In this letter, John Doyle Elliott, a national pension lobbyist, informs members of congress what he feels can end the loss of income. According to this letter, attached was the Pay-As-You-Go Social Security and Prosperity Insurance Act.

Standing By The Best in an Evil Time" E

In this sermon, Dr. King addresses the evil in the world and suggest to his congregation that they counter this by being strong and steadfast in the Lord. Dr. King also touches on the current issues in society and how to continue the use of nonviolence as means to for peace and social justice.

Stars for Freedom 1967

This magazine highlights celebrities who have contributed to the Civil Rights Movement as well as the contributions of SCLC and other programs across America. Featured in the article is statement by SCLC President, Dr. King.

The Civil Rights Struggle in the United States Today

This pamphlet, published by the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, is a transcript of an address delivered by Dr. King titled "The Civil Rights Struggle in the United States Today." In his first speech before the organization, Dr. King recounts the history of the global civil rights movement.

The Dimensions of a Complete Life

Dr. King begins this sermon with the story of John's first sight of the holy city of Jerusalem. He uses the story to emphasize "an eternal truth which we must forever recognize, and that is that life at its best and life as it should be is the life that is complete on all sides." This famous sermon had been drafted several times and also takes up the name "Three Dimensions of A Complete Life."

The Martin Luther King Column

This column, written by Dr. King, depicts his philosophy on the complete human life. He describes life to have three separate, yet connected dimensions. These dimensions are denoted as: length, breadth, and height. All are defined in great detail according to the Reverend's belief and experiences.

The Minority Can Afford Adequate Housing

Mr. Borden writes to inform readers of the housing inequalities in Dade County. Borden ultimately explains that the problem extends from not a singular reason, but from a mixture of social and economic ills. He believes that if the focus was shifted from building expensive commercial buildings to investing in ordinary neighborhoods, there would be significant improvement. This also serves as a call to action for those who agree with the information to mail it to their representatives in Congress.

The Shaking Off of Burdens

Professor Robert Birley delivers an annual memorial lecture on T.B. Davie at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. He notes that Mr. Davie served as vice-chancellor for the college and is most noted for his adherence to the principles of academic freedom and his stand against apartheid. Birley believes that this annual memorial is absolutely necessary to maintain Davie's inspirational legacy and continue the fight for academic freedom . He brings up the politics of slaves versus the free, drawing on the philosophies of Aristotle, Plato, and others to describe examples.

The Spirit of Kinloch

The Spirit of Kinloch is a community newspaper with various articles. Kinloch is the oldest African American community to be incorporated in the state of Missouri.

Three Dimensions of a Complete Life

Dr. King states that the key to an extended and fulfilling life is to live a life that is "three dimensional." He further identifies these dimensions as: "length, breadth and height." Dr. King proclaims these dimensions will ensure a life of self-love, community and love for God.

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